The last article generated some good discourse on this topic and really showed that fans really are split on this topic. Some are wondering if it’s a panic move based on two months of data while others are wondering who would replace Berríos in the rotation if he were traded? In Matthew Taylor’s article, which was the inspiration for my articles on this topic, he is of the ilk that the last two months show the Twins aren’t in that window to compete for a World Series this year or next. He doesn’t believe a complete rebuild is necessary, as the Twins boast one of the best farm systems in baseball, and thinks the window is just shifted to 2023 and beyond. On the other hand, I’ve just lost the faith in Berríos to take that next step to be a frontline starter but, with one-and-a-half years of team control remaining and being on the younger side, I think a team would “pay up” for that potential that many Twins fans thinks he still has. If the Twins were to hold him and look to sign an extension, I’d want it to be no more than $15MM AAV over a two or three years but even the top end of that feels too rich for me. If we were to move on from Berríos this year and think that we will compete in 2022, then there are about a dozen free agents options that I think would sufficiently replace him but that sounds like an article for another day. I think one thing that we need to be reminded of is that this informal series that Matthew and I have created wasn’t just a spur of the moment, “panic” decision.
To be fair, this sounds more like speculation than an actual report but it comes from a legitimate journalist who’s been tied to Major League Baseball since the early 2000’s. Even if it’s speculation, he’s been through enough seasons and trade deadlines to have an idea on how the trade market could come together in the coming months. In particular, he mentioned the Blue Jays as a potential suitor but I also think the Braves and Yankees are two other teams who have the offense for a postseason run while needing some rotation help, and have the farm system necessary to add an impact starter. Looking at the Twins farm system and young talent already in the Majors, I think the biggest needs for the Twins would be a pitching prospect, ideally left-handed, and/or a prospect who could play third base who can help within the next couple of seasons. Theoretically, the Twins could probably piece together a second base/shortstop/third base puzzle that included Jorge Polanco, Luis Arraez, Nick Gordon, Royce Lewis, and even Keoni Cavaco over the next few seasons but they really don’t have a true third base prospect in their system. Based on my previous article, I don’t think the Twins will net a top-100 prospect for Berríos alone and would likely need to add another piece to sweeten the deal whether that be cash, a rent-a-reliever (i.e. Hansel Robles or Alex Colomé), or a position player (i.e. Kepler with the emergence of Larnach and Kirilloff). Without further ado, here are the players I would be targeting a Berríos deal.
The Jays farm system is stacked and they have one of the best offenses in baseball that needs to be supplemented with some pitching help in both their rotation and bullpen. If I were to put together a deal involving Berríos and one of our rent-a-relievers, I would be targeting the following:
- Simeon Woods-Richardson - RHP prospect known more for his command of the zone than being a power pitcher
- Jordan Groshans - a SS/3B prospect with a good bat who needs another season or two in the minors
- Alek Manoah - RHP prospect with a big arm that needs to improve control
I’m more interested in the top two than Manoah and, of course, he’s coming off a fantastic MLB debut. They might be pressed to move on from Groshans as they don’t have any other future options at third with Vladimir Guerror Jr moving to 1st but, if the Twins are sellers, they’ll have the assets to net him and Woods-Richardson.
Like the Blue Jays, the Braves have the offense to contend but really need help in their rotation and bullpen making them a good match if the Twins are sellers. Moreover, they have one of the better farm systems in baseball making it plausible they’d be willing to move things around to make a push in the second half of the season. I would target the following:
- Braden Shewmake - 2B/SS prospect projects as a good contact hitter with good speed and a good glove, but not great skills.
- Tucker Davidson - LHP prospect who projects to be good, not great, with a plus fastball but needs to work on improving his offspeed.
- Kyle Muller - hard throwing LHP prospect with plus pitches but struggles with control which will likely be a deciding factor in how his career plays out.
As I mentioned earlier, the Twins are chalked full with young middle infield options but when Shewmake was drafted (2019, 1st round) some thought his long-term outlook was at 3rd base, although he’s played exclusively at short in the Braves system. Of the two lefties, which is a need for the Twins, Muller has the higher ceiling while Davidson has the higher floor and has also made two appearances for the Braves over the last two seasons.
The Yankees starting rotation has been better than most would have thought but just lost Corey Kluber for at least two months to a shoulder injury, and I don’t think they have the reinforcements that can be relied on in 2021. I would target the following:
- Luis Medina - hard throwing RHP prospect who really needs to work on control. Probably needs at least one or two more seasons in the minors.
I didn’t even mention higher ranked RHP prospects like Clarke Schmidt who has already had Tommy John surgery and multiple issues with his elbow, Luis Gil or Deivi Garcia who don’t move the needle for me. On the other hand, Medina would be an intriguing project that has the potential to be better than Berríos but also has the floor where he’s a non-factor. Outside of Jasson “the next Mike Trout” Dominguez, they don’t have the farm system to acquire a big-time arm (i.e. Max Scherzer) midseason, so a mid level starter like Berríos is probably more realistic.
I wouldn’t be overly concerned with our lack of 3rd base prospects and would be targeting pitchers as the headliner in a trade involving Berríos, as you can never have enough pitching. Furthermore, I think finding a team like the Blue Jays or Braves that need help in the rotation and bullpen could really help a better prospect by creating a bigger package of immediate contributors to potential playoff teams.
What are your thoughts on some of the names in this article? There are undoubtedly more teams that would be interested in Berríos...do you have a certain team or prospect in mind you’d like to see the Twins acquire?