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  • One Prospect the Twins Should Be Willing to Trade


    Cody Christie

    Minnesota has started their trade deadline selling spree by sending Nelson Cruz to the Rays. Even in sell mode, would the team consider trading away one of the club’s top prospects?

    Image courtesy of © Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

    Organization’s prospect depth helps to keep team’s competitive window open as long as possible. Minnesota has built up a strong farm system but that means the team hasn’t been able to hang on to some of their depth in recent years. Players like Akil Baddoo and LaMonte Wade have gone on to find success with other organizations because the Twins didn’t project them as part of the long-term plan.

    Brent Rooker seems like another player that doesn’t fit into the team’s long-term plan. During the 2020 season, he impressed during his big- league debut although it was limited to seven games and 21 plate appearances. During that time, he hit .316/.381/.579 with three extra-base hits and five strikeouts. His season was cut short due to a fractured forearm, but it wasn’t hard to envision him fitting on the team’s roster moving forward.

    Entering the 2021 season, Rooker was fighting for a roster spot. However, it became clear that the team wasn’t keen to use him as a defensive outfielder, because he is below average in a corner outfield spot. First base is a position where he is not as much of a defensive liability, but the team has other options at that position. Minnesota was forced to make a choice and Kyle Garlick earned the final roster spot. Rooker was going to have to slug his way back to the Twins.

    Rooker has certainly been making his presence known in the Saints roster this season. His season started on a slow note as he was limited to a .375 OPS during the team’s eight April games. He posted an .836 OPS in May, but June was when he really turned it on as he hit .275/.420/.675 (1.095) with nine home runs. He was one of the best hitters in the minors and the Twins didn’t have a roster spot for him even though they were struggling.

    One of the biggest reasons the Twins didn’t give Rooker the call was because two other outfield prospects have passed him up on the depth chart. Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach are considered better prospects than Rooker, but he has always been playing at a higher level in Minnesota’s farm system. Losing the 2020 minor league season likely cost Rooker a chance to play his way into the team’s long-term plans.

    Kirilloff went on the IL earlier this week, but Rooker still wasn’t called up to take his spot. Now Nelson Cruz has been traded, so Rooker might get an opportunity to slide into a DH role with the Twins. However, trading him to another organization might be his best chance at finding a permanent big-league role.

    Because of his college experience, he is already 26-years old. He has dominated Triple-A pitching in parts of two different seasons and the Twins don’t seem to have a spot for him. Like Badoo and Wade, he may find success in another organization, but he at least deserves to have a chance to prove he belongs at the MLB level.

    Do you think the Twins should trade Rooker? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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    Hadn't thought about this, but yes, it makes some sense.  Hopefully, Rooker will get a chance the rest of the year to DH on a regular basis and perform as well as he did in his brief appearance last summer.  If that brightens his star, yes he may be a part of a big trade for a middle of the rotation starting pitcher.  

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    It's probably too late to trade him for anything worthwhile - he's starting to get old for a prospect, and despite the strong numbers at AAA, MLB pitchers are going to feast on him if he doesn't change his approach and drop the K% numbers. I fear he may become the next Daniel Palka.

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    Why trade Rooker until you’ve played him some more and give him a chance to see what he can do? He isn’t going to get us anything significant in return unless we can find a team willing to trade a blocked shortstop or pitching prospect in return for a blocked outfield/DH prospect. Seems pretty unlikely. He is worth more to us than he is to anybody else, so why trade him? I guess I could see him as the minor-league throw in to even out a different trade. I think the better thing to do is to do what they’re doing, call him up, put him in the lineup as a  DH Or outfielder and see if he can find that hitting stroke he seem to have a couple of years ago in a small sample. There’s nothing for us in trading him now so why do it.

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    I do think the Twins should call him up after the deadline and see how he does at the plate.  If pitcher's are still making him look silly and he can't hit anything then I say the odds he ever makes it are slim. Maybe a team needy for a 1st Baseman will see his value.  Maybe the Rays would bite.  I like Rooker and his AAA numbers are impressive but right now Mark Contraras has a 911 OPS in AAA and he is actually a plus defensive outfielder.  It just kind of seems like Rooker is in the way on the 40 man right now.

    Kirilloff looks like maybe the best fit at 1st base and Sano needs to play there and Garver could play there as well.  Rooker is a liability in the outfield and I don't think he has fixed his chasing of Breaking balls low in the zone. He can play 1st but right now there are just too many guys there IMO.  I guess he could always just DH but will he ever figure out MLB pitching?  That is the question and he doesn't have much time left before he is an afterthought.

     

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    Feels like Rooker has 2 months to show he has the chance to be an above average MLB bat. He's brutal in the outfield and should never be out there again. With his negative value in the OF he would need to be a plus bat to be worth taking up a roster spot. If he can play a passable 1B he'd still need to be a plus bat. If he's a DH only he really needs to be a plus bat. I don't see it as I just don't think he can get those K numbers down. But he has 2 months to show he deserves a spot on the 40 man as the Twins hit the offseason with some decisions to make there. I may not see him having a future here, but they should certainly give him the DH spot and let him run with it for 2 months and see if there's something there.

    As for trading him, I just don't see him having much value. Certainly don't see teams giving up pitchers or up the middle players of any quality for him. So at this point you let him go for 2 months. Maybe he shows something another team likes and you can trade him during the offseason if he doesn't fit here. Wouldn't be trying to trade him in the next week, though.

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    What I really like about Rooker is that he bats from the right side.  How about trade Alex K, or Larnach instead for some more pitching.  Might not be as good in the field minus one of the lefties, but could also get a better return for them.  Otherwise I see another cluster of left handed corner outfielders kind of like we have/had with Kepler, Wade, and Cave.  

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    51 minutes ago, Seth Stohs said:

    Brent Rooker has been called up by the Twins. 

    The second part of that now is that he will just need to play, almost daily. 

    Thanks, Seth.  Now he gets another chance to put his injury behind him and show us what he has.  If he can limit his K's to around 30+%, his power just might give him a nice career.  We will know a lot more come October 1.

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    I'm rooting for Rooker, but unless he shows he can hit an off-speed pitch at the MLB level and make more consistent contact...then he's a 4-A hitter without a defensive position. I'm all for the Twins calling him up and having him DH to see what he's got, but if I'm seeing him as a K-prone player who might not be able to hit breaking balls whose upside might be late-period Adam Dunn...he's not going to have a lot of value in trade.

    I'm glad he's coming up. It's a lost season and we need a power RH bat to replace Cruz, so let's see what he's got. But even his work in AAA doesn't scream success in MLB. The power is there, but hells bells, my dude is only hitting .239 in Saint Paul. 

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    7 minutes ago, jmlease1 said:

    I'm rooting for Rooker, but unless he shows he can hit an off-speed pitch at the MLB level and make more consistent contact...then he's a 4-A hitter without a defensive position. I'm all for the Twins calling him up and having him DH to see what he's got, but if I'm seeing him as a K-prone player who might not be able to hit breaking balls whose upside might be late-period Adam Dunn...he's not going to have a lot of value in trade.

    I'm glad he's coming up. It's a lost season and we need a power RH bat to replace Cruz, so let's see what he's got. But even his work in AAA doesn't scream success in MLB. The power is there, but hells bells, my dude is only hitting .239 in Saint Paul. 

    Dude has an OPS over .900 in St. Paul too and leads minor league baseball in home runs... Yes, he needs to find a way to make more contact, but when he does, it's usually hard contact. 

    Also, I would love for him to become Adam Dunn... 

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    Yep. I’m completely fine trading Rooker. He’s a 1B/DH type that likely isn’t anything more than league average. Unfortunately, I think his value is lower than it was 2 years, or even a year ago. Now that we’re in this position, there’s no reason not to give him DH at bats everyday until the end of the season. If he shows promise, great, you can trade him and another prospect for an arm this offseason. I don’t foresee rooker having a long term role in minnesota, especially if Sano is still around next year. 

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    This is the time and test our minor leaders and prospects. I don't care what age they are or what minor league they're level they're at. Anybody over 30 that hasn't proven to be far above average is tradable and needs to be replaced by somebody younger after this colossal year of collapse

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    Rooker had an OPS of .960 and an OPS+ of 163 in his first 21 plate appearances at the MLB level last year before getting hurt and people were clamoring for him to start the season on the 26 man. He played 8 games this year and people want to release him, haha.

    Playing Rooker every day is the best thing for the Twins and for Rooker. I really do expect the universal DH to be in the next CBA and when it happens, NL clubs are going to be very hungry for bats. If Rooker can even pull off an OPS above .750, there will be interest in him.

    In regard to Sano, I wonder how long of a leash the Twins will give him before pulling the plug? Even if the Twins ate his entire contract, I doubt they could find a trade partner this year and I'm sure they don't want to rely on him to provide any value next year. I'm guessing the Twins will try to trade him while eating all or the majority of his contract this offseason.

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    1 minute ago, bean5302 said:

    Rooker had an OPS of .960 and an OPS+ of 163 in his first 21 plate appearances at the MLB level last year before getting hurt and people were clamoring for him to start the season on the 26 man. He played 8 games this year and people want to release him, haha.

    Playing Rooker every day is the best thing for the Twins and for Rooker. I really do expect the universal DH to be in the next CBA and when it happens, NL clubs are going to be very hungry for bats. If Rooker can even pull off an OPS above .750, there will be interest in him.

    In regard to Sano, I wonder how long of a leash the Twins will give him before pulling the plug? Even if the Twins ate his entire contract, I doubt they could find a trade partner this year and I'm sure they don't want to rely on him to provide any value next year. I'm guessing the Twins will try to trade him while eating all or the majority of his contract this offseason.

    I'm guessing those weren't the same people..... No idea what to do with Sano at this point.

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    4 minutes ago, Dodecahedron said:

    Trade him for three Marv Throneberry baseball cards.

    The Twins could totally, probably, maybe swing that... if they threw in $16MM to cover the rest of this season's salary, plus cover next year and his $2.75MM buyout for not exercising the $14MM team option in 2023. Woof. 

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    12 minutes ago, bean5302 said:

    The Twins could totally, probably, maybe swing that... if they threw in $16MM to cover the rest of this season's salary, plus cover next year and his $2.75MM buyout for not exercising the $14MM team option in 2023. Woof. 

    Ah well.  The Rangers ended up paying the beyond-reasonable portion A-Rod's salary forever once they traded him off.  The Twins can probably figure out that number for Sano and let him go.  It won't hurt as much as that A-Rod thing hurt the Rangers.

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    32 minutes ago, beckmt said:

    Rooker and Sano almost look like the same type of player.  That is one too many for me.  Give me more Arraez type players that work pitchers.

    Agreed. At this point let’s give up on the Sano experiment. Let’s give Rooker the rest of the DH ab’s the rest of the season and see how he fares. Now that the trades have begun let’s get some more call ups and see what we have in the kids! Agreed though, I value Arraez as maybe the most exciting player on this team when Buxton is out. Which to this point has been pretty much his whole career

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    40 minutes ago, beckmt said:

    Rooker and Sano almost look like the same type of player.  That is one too many for me.  Give me more Arraez type players that work pitchers.

    How do you measure working pitchers? Batters that make a lot of contact? Batters that see a greater number of pitches? Batters that see a lot of strikes? Balls?

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