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  • Starting Pitching Trade Partners: Cincinnati Reds


    Jamie Cameron

    The starting pitching free agent market has been decimated in the last 48 hours. What can the Twins do to bolster their starting pitching this offseason? Make a trade with the Reds. 

    Image courtesy of Charles LeClaire, USA Today Sports

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    One of our friends at Twins Daily, Shea McGinnity, summed it up best.

    The last 48 hours have likely been the most intense and exciting period of baseball free agency in the sport’s history. Twins fandom is understandably elated at Byron Buxton signing a 7-year, $100 million extension which keeps him a Twin for life. Yet, something feels like it’s missing. Oh, right, the starting pitching. The Twins don’t have much to speak of, and the starting pitching free agent market has been decimated in a pre-lockout financial feeding frenzy

    In the last 48 hours, Jon Gray, Kevin Gausman, Robbie Ray, and Max Scherzer have all signed hefty to record-breaking free-agent contracts. The remaining free-agent starters, using Aaron Gleeman’s Top 25 list at The Athletic, looks thin. Marcus Stroman and Carlos Rodon are the top names remaining. Clayton Kershaw isn’t signing with the Twins. Alex Wood and Alex Cobb are rumored to be signing with the Giants. That leaves Michael Pineda, Danny Duffy, Zack Grienke, Yusei Kikuchi, and Dylan Bundy. 

    The mounting frustration for Twins fans lies in the discrepancy between the front office’s end-of-season rhetoric and their extreme lethargy in the recent free-agent frenzy. All indications from Derek Falvey suggested the Twins were ready to compete in 2022. The Twins front office exists in a challenging tension. They want to establish themselves as an organization that consistently competes through developing its own pitching. Until that labor bears fruit, fans are left to lust after free agent signings that will never come to pass. The Twins organization does not sign pitchers to hefty contracts. With that said, let’s examine some options for how they might strengthen their pitching staff via trade, starting with the Cincinnati Reds.

    Over the next three weeks, I’ll be profiling the three organizations the Twins should be looking to trade with for starting pitching. I’ll take into account their likely cost, performance, and future contract to rank options 1-3 for each organization. By all accounts, the Reds are open for business. They have an array of excellent MLB pitching, are undergoing organizational change (such as the departure of former pitching coordinator Kyle Boddy) and a good farm system that could use the addition of close to MLB ready bats.

    Sonny Gray
    Sonny Gray should be one of the Twins’ primary trade targets currently. In the midst of a 3-year, $32 million contract which runs through 2023, Gray has been worth, on average 2.5 fWAR over his last five seasons. Gray has maintained excellent peripherals and a strong K% throughout his late twenties and early thirties. He fits the profile of a starting pitcher, who the Twins wouldn’t have to give up multiple of their best prospects for, who could start a playoff game for Minnesota.
    Gray.png.98982b55981b421a501d0b3b60b9925e.png

    Potential trade: Twins trade RHP Jordan Balazovic and C Ryan Jeffers to the Reds for RHP Sonny Gray.

    Tyler Mahle
    Tyler Mahle is best known to Twins fans as the pitcher who broke Byron Buxton’s hand this season but had a quiet breakout year for the Reds. Mahle profiles more similarly to Gray, both in stuff and cost, but has age on his side at just 27. Mahle sported a 27.7% K% in 2021 to go along with a 3.80 FIP, and 3.84 fWAR. Mahle, like Luis Castillo, is not a free agent until 2024.
    Mahle.png.ee6b1b05ef8a672c1bef331c0e95f3c2.png

    Potential Trade: Twins trade INF Luis Arraez and RHP Matt Canterino to the Reds for RHP Tyler Mahle.

    Luis Castillo
    Luis Castillo is by far the best of the three Reds options and by far the most expensive, which is why I am ranking him last. Castillo has excellent velocity (97 mph fastball), a devastating changeup, and doesn’t hit free agency until 2024. The asking price on Castillo has been reported to be incredibly high, which it should be for a starting pitcher you would feel confident in leading a good number of MLB rotations. It seems unlikely the Twins would trade for Castillo given the cost.
    Castillo.png.49f94a3fa85a17e80fa200b77fe372aa.png

    Potential trade: The Twins trade SS Royce Lewis and OF Max Kepler to the Reds for RHP Luis Castillo.

    Do you agree with my ranking? What would you offer in a trade with Cincinnati? Which of their starting pitchers appeals to you the most?

     

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    I think if I'm the Twins, I roll with the plan of using 2022 to evaluate my young guns for a run in 2023. I'm not trading pitching prospects for MLB starting pitching. I'm not trading catching depth for starting pitching. I'm not trading Royce for starting pitching (unless it blows me away...young, proven, starting pitching.) 

     

    Ryan, Ober, Winder, Canterino, Balazovic, etc, all get time in the rotation this year. Sure, bring back Pineda and maybe one other veteran to teach and coach those young guys (maybe a future HOFer?)...the Twins are not a playoff team in 2022. But, they are a playoff caliber team in 2023 and beyond if their current crop of young pitching gets seasoned in 2022. 

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    I think our best bet is to trade for Luzardo or Hernandez from the Marlins. They have more starters than they have spots for them to pitch and the acquisition cost for either of those two players will be significantly less than it would for a 1 year rental from Oakland or a 2 year contract for a Reds starter.

     

    If we sign one of Stroman/Rodon trade for one of Luzardo or Hernandez and either sign a 3rd starter like Pineda/Duffy or trade for Odorizzi as a salary dump from Houston then we should have enough pitching to compete this year without trading any of our promising young pitchers that will start appearing at MLB level in '22 and '23.

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    17 minutes ago, Seansy said:

    I think our best bet is to trade for Luzardo or Hernandez from the Marlins. They have more starters than they have spots for them to pitch and the acquisition cost for either of those two players will be significantly less than it would for a 1 year rental from Oakland or a 2 year contract for a Reds starter.

     

    If we sign one of Stroman/Rodon trade for one of Luzardo or Hernandez and either sign a 3rd starter like Pineda/Duffy or trade for Odorizzi as a salary dump from Houston and we should have enough pitching to compete this year without trading any of our promising young pitchers that will start appearing at MLB level in '22 and '23.

    I like that option. Have a piece coming on Marlins as trade partners. I agree that them being seriously competitive this year relies on them signing someone pretty solid as a FA option.

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    1 hour ago, TNTwinsFan said:

    I think if I'm the Twins, I roll with the plan of using 2022 to evaluate my young guns for a run in 2023. I'm not trading pitching prospects for MLB starting pitching. I'm not trading catching depth for starting pitching. I'm not trading Royce for starting pitching (unless it blows me away...young, proven, starting pitching.) 

     

    Ryan, Ober, Winder, Canterino, Balazovic, etc, all get time in the rotation this year. Sure, bring back Pineda and maybe one other veteran to teach and coach those young guys (maybe a future HOFer?)...the Twins are not a playoff team in 2022. But, they are a playoff caliber team in 2023 and beyond if their current crop of young pitching gets seasoned in 2022. 

    Definitely the big question. If they do somewhat punt on 2022 the FO will lose a ton of credibility with the fanbase imo as it's contrary to all their end of season posturing.

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    2 hours ago, Karbo said:

    Of the 3 above I could go for the Mahle trade. He is younger with upside. Arraez is a tough loss and Canterino looks like he has a bright future but is unproven.

    It sounds like there is a lot of rumblings that Canterino could end up as a bullpen arm in the majors anyway.  That could end up being a solid trade.

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    Hard pass on the Sonny Gray trade, no way I am giving up the years of control and IMO the gem of the minor league prospects for 2 years of Gray, I would be willing to trade Jeffers and a much lower ranked and older pitching prospect for Gray.

    Would be willing to do the Mahle trade as long as there was decent FA signed as well.

    Also a hard pass on Luis Castillo, not giving Lewis up for two years of control. Might be willing to do it for Martin who I think might end up better than Lewis but IMO has no real chance of being a major league short stop (since he has only played 45 games at short in the last 4 years)

     

     

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    It's a tough pill, but I'd actually make the Castillo deal.  Controllable front-line starters won't come cheap and to get 3 years, for Royce and Kepler seems reasonable.  We don't know what Royce will be, and that was prior to the injury.  There are plenty of skeptics on how much he will hit.  Kepler is who he is at this point and with Kiriloff, Larach, Wallner, etc. coming along, we should consider him as a valuable trade chip.  I don't like what's left on the FA market, and while I hate giving up prospects, I think having Austin Martin now helps ease a loss of Royce.

     

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    1 minute ago, khal149 said:

    It's a tough pill, but I'd actually make the Castillo deal.  Controllable front-line starters won't come cheap and to get 3 years, for Royce and Kepler seems reasonable.  We don't know what Royce will be, and that was prior to the injury.  There are plenty of skeptics on how much he will hit.  Kepler is who he is at this point and with Kiriloff, Larach, Wallner, etc. coming along, we should consider him as a valuable trade chip.  I don't like what's left on the FA market, and while I hate giving up prospects, I think having Austin Martin now helps ease a loss of Royce.

     

    Great first post! Welcome to TD

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    I'd do the Mahle trade listed as I'm not terribly attached to the players they'd give up. Castillo's awful first half gives me some pause, he was a disaster until about July. Also, the the Reds are cutting payroll, I'm not sure they'd want Kepler, he's going to get paid about the same as Castillo.

    I've never been a Sonny Gray fan. Though I'll admit he tends to prove me wrong about every other year. The problem with him is, if he's the Twins Ace, they aren't actually contenders in 2022 so I'm not sure if I give up Balazovic for one possible year of Gray being a useful asset in 2023.

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    I'm fine with the idea of trading Kepler. He's an above average fielding, below average hitting corner OF with some power, that could be an average fielding CF. In short, he's replaceable,

    The idea of trading Lewis is tough but we need to remember one thing. We have Lewis, Miranda and Martin, al of whom are IFs, probably not SSs, and their ability to play CF just got a little less important since we now  think (hope against hope?) that Buxton is the CF for the next 7 years. I think we can trade one of them. Trading one for a high upside controllable SP is not the worst idea I've ever heard. I'd rather keep Lewis and give up Larnach or Miranda, but trading one of Martin, Miranda or Lewis should definitely be a possibility for the right starting pitcher. 

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    I'm more inclined to trade some prospects than others. My basis is pure speculation  based on projectable value; a pitcher's stuff and a hitter's barrel tendencies. So not very scientific. I keep Winder, Balazovic, Woods-Richardson, Ober, Miranda, and Martin. I'm willing to trade Duran, Ryan, Lewis, and others in the right situation. Castillo is likely worth Lewis and Kepler, but would try to offer someone else in place of Kepler. I'm still wondering about Montas and interested in what Oakland wants for Bassitt. Apparently, it seems there may be widespread interest in Kepler as a CF. This may produce something. I would want a good return for Kepler. He is very athletic and I do see him improving. But, Castillo, Montas ... yes, we still need good starting pitchers.

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    If we have 50 million to spend . We could sign  Duffy, peneda, knebel ,Brad hand? Maybe Rondon if we free up a few million would that be enough pitching for everyone? We have hitting.

     

     

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    I would be fine with the Castillo trade, because like previously mentioned Lewis probably isn't playing SS and we have Martin and Miranda. Unfortunately, the only thing on trade rumors about the Twins and Castillo is they are one of the few teams that are not in discussions.

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    15 hours ago, khal149 said:

    It's a tough pill, but I'd actually make the Castillo deal.  Controllable front-line starters won't come cheap and to get 3 years, for Royce and Kepler seems reasonable.  We don't know what Royce will be, and that was prior to the injury.  There are plenty of skeptics on how much he will hit.  Kepler is who he is at this point and with Kiriloff, Larach, Wallner, etc. coming along, we should consider him as a valuable trade chip.  I don't like what's left on the FA market, and while I hate giving up prospects, I think having Austin Martin now helps ease a loss of Royce.

     

    Luis Castillo is UFA in 2024, so it is two years of control. But if it was 3 years, I would do the trade as well.

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    On 12/1/2021 at 6:50 AM, TwinsDr2021 said:

    Luis Castillo is UFA in 2024, so it is two years of control. But if it was 3 years, I would do the trade as well.

    Sure we don't know what Royce Lewis is.  But we also don't wait for him for 4 years and then move him before we find out.

     

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    8 hours ago, dxpavelka said:

    Sure we don't know what Royce Lewis is.  But we also don't wait for him for 4 years and then move him before we find out.

     

    I can agree with that but if you are getting a 28 year old pitcher with 3 years of control, coming off of three years of 4.9, 1.1, 4.7 WAR you trade any prospect not named Wander Franco, Vlad Jr, Tatis Jr. (or possibly a prospect rocketing up the rankings not dropping in the rankings)

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    14 hours ago, TwinsDr2021 said:

    I can agree with that but if you are getting a 28 year old pitcher with 3 years of control, coming off of three years of 4.9, 1.1, 4.7 WAR you trade any prospect not named Wander Franco, Vlad Jr, Tatis Jr. (or possibly a prospect rocketing up the rankings not dropping in the rankings)

    I'm not interested in past performance.

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    15 hours ago, dxpavelka said:

    I'm not interested in past performance.

    So you are only interest in future projections and hope? I don't get it?

    For the last 3 years he has been better than Berrios and he got how much money?

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    On 12/4/2021 at 12:33 PM, TwinsDr2021 said:

    So you are only interest in future projections and hope? I don't get it?

    For the last 3 years he has been better than Berrios and he got how much money?

    the past does nothing for us

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