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  • The Time to Trade Kyle Gibson Is Now


    Andrew Thares

    The 35-45 Minnesota Twins (entering play on Monday) have quickly taken themselves out of the playoff picture with their continued inability to live up to the potential they had entering the season. According to Fangraphs, the Twins playoff odds currently stand at just 1.4 percent, 2.2 percent lower than their odds ever got last season.

    While much of the discussion about potential trades involving guys like Brian Dozier, Eduardo Escobar and Lance Lynn have started to heat up, one player who could be on the radar of opposing teams is Kyle Gibson.

    Image courtesy of © Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

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    Kyle Gibson has looked like a new and improved pitcher in 2018. Not only has Gibson dropped his ERA to a level lower than it has ever been, but he is also striking out batters at a much higher rate than he ever has. So far this year, Gibson has struck out 23.3 percent of batters that he has faced, up from his previous career high of 17.7 percent, which he set back in 2015.

    Gibson’s turnaround, however, actually dates back to last August where he had a strong stretch to close out the season, which played a big part in the Twins clinching their first playoff berth since 2010. Over his last 24 starts overall, Gibson has a 3.29 ERA (3.78 FIP) and has a K/9 of 8.63 along with a 3.10 BB/9.

    This extended run of success has changed the way people think about Kyle Gibson as a pitcher. Going back to this time a year ago, perhaps the only thing keeping Gibson in the Twins rotation was the severe lack of depth of major league-caliber starting pitchers within the organization. Flash forward to the present day and Gibson has turned himself the number two starter on one of the better Twins rotations in years.

    Now, I know what you’re thinking, why would the Twins trade away Gibson who has been one of the few bright spots on the team, especially since they have another year of control of him? My answer, that is the exact reason why they should be looking to trade him.

    If there was ever a time where Kyle Gibson’s trade value would be high enough to net a pretty decent prospect return it's right now. As I mentioned before, Gibson’s performance has done more than enough to warrant a spot in the rotation on any contending team, with perhaps the exception of the Houston Astros.

    Here is a list of the 15 teams that I think will be buyers at the trade deadline, and where Gibson’s 3.48 ERA (entering play Monday) would rank on those staffs among pitchers who have thrown at least 50 innings this year.

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    Additionally, with Gibson having another year of team control after 2018 that will make him all the more enticing to teams, as he won’t be a rental piece that they lose at season’s end. As we have seen in the past, players with this extra year of control tend to get far bigger packages in return than rental players tend to receive.

    Another factor going in the favor of trading Gibson right now is the market for available starting pitchers is pretty bleak. The only real marquee starting pitcher whose name has been thrown around as a potential trade piece is Jacob deGrom, but given the way he has been pitching, and the fact that he still has two more years of team control after 2018, it would take a king’s ransom to pry him away from the Mets. After deGrom, the quality of starting pitchers available drops off. The next tier of starters being mentioned includes Cole Hamels, J.A. Happ and Tyson Ross. However, it could be argued that Gibson is pitching better than all three of those guys right now.

    The big thing that the Twins will have to consider is having to give up on Gibson being a member of their starting rotation for a 2019 team that expects to compete. So, let’s dive into that part of it and see how things might shake out if they do trade him away.

    While the Twins do have several players on their roster with expiring contracts, the starting rotation for 2019 has already mostly taken shape. Barring any serious injuries between now and then, the Twins could pencil in Jose Berrios, Fernando Romero (who should be back up before the end of 2018), Jake Odorizzi, and the long-forgotten Michael Pineda into their 2019 rotation. Also there are numerous other options down in the minors who could compete for a starting job in the Twins 2019 rotation including Stephen Gonsalves, Alberto Mejia, Zach Littell, Aaron Slegers and Lewis Thorpe to name a few.

    Additionally, the Twins will have a ton of money coming off their books this winter which means they will have plenty of payroll flexibility to add another starter or two in free agency if that is something they wish to pursue. So, while Gibson could definitely help the 2019 Twins rotation, it doesn’t exactly leave the team in a bad spot if they were to trade him away.

    Another factor to consider is the money that Gibson himself will make next year. Since he will be entering his third year of arbitration, and with the way he has been pitching of late, Gibson could be in line for a decent pay raise heading into 2019. If the Twins were to trade him away, the money that they save by not having to pay Gibson could be put towards finding his replacement or in helping other areas of the roster.

    So, how much should we expect Gibson to make next year? Well, for that it is usually best to compare him to other players in a similar situation to see what they got. A perfect example for this comparison is Patrick Corbin. Last winter, Corbin entered his final year as an arbitration-eligible player, just like Gibson will be this winter. Corbin was coming off a respectable season where he threw 189 2/3 innings with a 4.03 ERA. The year prior to that Corbin received $3.95 million, a little bit less than $4.2 million Kyle Gibson is receiving this year.

    With the way Gibson has been pitching this year, we can anticipate that Gibson should end up receiving a little more than the $7.5 million that Patrick Corbin received entering 2018. My guess is it will be somewhere in the $8-9 million range. When you factor that in with the almost $2 million the Twins could save on Gibson’s contract this year by trading him, they could have more than $10 million saved up on Gibson that they can reinvest into the team.

    In the end, I’m not proposing that the Twins should simply trade Gibson for the sake of trading him, because that would be silly. What I am proposing, however, is it would be foolish on the Twins part not to be shopping Gibson around at the deadline to see what kind of package they could get in return for him. I would be shocked if there weren’t at least a few teams that would be interested in adding Kyle Gibson to their starting rotation.

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    Nicely done and very accurate.  This really good post looks at the average lifespan of a pitcher.  The first chart is quite hilarious, but as he gets control over his information it lays out a very informative chart.  https://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2014/2/25/5437902/pitching-aging-curves 

    Kyle is 30 - check out the chart for 30 and older.  He is not a knuckleballer who will be improving as he ages.

     

    Trade him, trade him now, and just enjoy the reward. 

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    Valid argument and well presented. But, we are still in a competitive window, and there is no statistical evidence to predict regression for Gibson in 2019 and 2020. We need his arm in the middle or top of our rotation to maintain the window. You could get a decent haul of prospects for him, but they would be prospects. I know we think we have the depth to back fill our rotation with the likes of Meija, Gonslaves, Thorpe, Romero. But, again none of those guys have proven anything in the league. It is too much of risk to trade Gibson in the middle of our window. That being said, my whole argument is based on if you accept the premise we are in a window...

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    This is a good article and i think its funny that I was trying to think how much it would cost to do a three year extention for him. We are in a competetive window and I do expect to have Buxton and Sano back next season and Polanco all season.

     

    I came up with

     

    Year 1 at 9 million

     

    Year two and three at 13 - 15 million and maybe a split option where the Twins can pick up a 4th year at 15/16 million or Gibson can exercise a player option at 6-9 million with a buyout.....

     

    With Berrios and Romero from the farm and Odorizzi and Pineda with Mejia, Slegers, Littell, Gonsalvez, May, Kohl Stewart? And maybe Lewis Thorpe among others as crazy good depth. Graterol may be ready by the end of next season...

     

    Until Pineda shows he still has it, its good to have replacements ready just in case.

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    Valid argument and well presented. But, we are still in a competitive window, and there is no statistical evidence to predict regression for Gibson in 2019 and 2020. We need his arm in the middle or top of our rotation to maintain the window. You could get a decent haul of prospects for him, but they would be prospects. I know we think we have the depth to back fill our rotation with the likes of Meija, Gonslaves, Thorpe, Romero. But, again none of those guys have proven anything in the league. It is too much of risk to trade Gibson in the middle of our window. That being said, my whole argument is based on if you accept the premise we are in a window...

    We don't have control of Gibson in 2020, so it's really just the 2019 season you're risking without Gibson. 

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    Another arguement for extending him is he may prefer to stay here. Isnt he from Missourri? Thats not too far away. His other options would be Kansas city, Chicago's and St. Louis maybe Cleveland, Detroit, or Cincinnatti if he wants to be closer to home...

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    Trade the guy when he has now become what all wanted, and get someone(s) else that takes another 5 years to do the same? If ever? Not the kind of "haul" that I like in my baseball team. Let's just always have strangers and visitors and tourists passing through like this years crop of Morrison, Lynn, Duke, and the likes of LaMarre, Motter and Wilson....... cheer for stangers and/or watch them fail. Even if they win, "who are those guys?" 

     

    What does this team still do with home growns and prospects anyway? With few exceptions... play in the minors until they are 27-29, and have no value. Maybe I am wrong. I mean, look at Atlanta and Oakland this year. Giving the farm a chance to graduate, and giving the grads consistent time in the show, and something other than what is happening here can have a chance to happen. I still don't like a team full of strangers that are just passing through.

    Edited by h2oface
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    I would trade Lynn, Odorizzi, Duke, Reed, Rodney before I even think about trading Gibson because I don't think most of the starting pitching prospects are ready. Think about it, Santana and Lynn will be gone, Odorizzi is still not consistent. They might as well keep Gibson because they need veterans in the rotation.

    Edited by jun
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    The Twins FO needs to stop pretending this team is a contender and start developing a realistic plan to rebuild this franchise from its rubble.   From that plan they can decide whether Kyle Gibson is going to have a chance to be part of it.

     

    I think, however, that the rebuilding plan lead time is such that Gibson should be traded.  He is 30 years old, will be a UFA in 2020, and even next year will cost substantially more than the $4.2 million he earned this last season.  I just don't see him being viable when this team might be ready to compete.

     

    And, while some may be sick and tired of hearing this, as long as this FO continues to put guys like Motter and BObby Wilson in the lineup, that rebuild is pushed further and further into the future.  

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    Watching the Yankees and Sox last night I had to tell myself..... we traded Aaron Hicks and then Span and then Revere.... and since then have been trying to find that star CFer.  For many years. 

     

    I think Buck is the guy, but it has been a revolving door.

     

    So when I see Gibby finally get it together, I want to keep him and let him payoff the FO for their faith in him. 

     

    Prospects are fools gold more often than not

     

     

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    Another arguement for extending him is he may prefer to stay here. Isnt he from Missourri? Thats not too far away. His other options would be Kansas city, Chicago's and St. Louis maybe Cleveland, Detroit, or Cincinnatti if he wants to be closer to home...

    I mean, he's not driving to Missouri. He has to go through the airport hassle and catch a flight either way.

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    I don't think we'd get much for him. Teams aren't just going to look at this half year's production, so if we can get a team to give up some quality, we should jump.

    I tend to agree with you. However similar to what you mentioned, I'm also tired of this team missing opportunities to sell high. This is a prime time to change that. Dangle him and see who comes nibbling. Don't like what you see, keep him. Edited by wsnydes
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    Gibby must have read this so far he's 2 for 2 with 2 runs scored plus some solid pitching. I'll never understand trading a good young starting pitcher. Those you hang on to. For a "prospect"? Good luck. They definitely put in the time with Gibby I think the best return will be a few more years Like this one

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    So Lance Lynn was worth the wait and the Twins should trade their most consistent pitcher ... This sounds like the preface to a book called "How Not to Build a Pitching Staff."

    Build a pitching staff for what? The season is over and the Twin's O/U wins next year will likely be under 80.

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    @ launching threes ... What I'm saying is that getting rid of your best pitchers and being satisfied with the performance Lynn is delivering so far is not going to lead to having a good staff.

     

    Fair enough, The problem is that Kyle Gibson will be pitching 0 relevant innings for the Twins. He's done well. Let's reward him with a trade to a contender and get someone who may play relevant games.

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    Gibby must have read this so far he's 2 for 2 with 2 runs scored plus some solid pitching. I'll never understand trading a good young starting pitcher. Those you hang on to. For a "prospect"? Good luck. They definitely put in the time with Gibby I think the best return will be a few more years Like this one

    I think your missing the point on this one. I'm not suggesting that the Twins should look to trade Gibson because he is bad, I'm suggesting that they look to trade him because he is good and might get a decent return. 

     

    There is a difference between giving up on a guy and realizing that another team might have a lot more value for him then you so you could get a surplus of value in return for him.

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    People give up pretty easily. This year I get. Next year, I dunno. I'd wait to see what sort of team we can build before assuming next year is total lost cause.

     

    Gibson is a close call. I find it unlikely that he'd return mite this year than as a rental at next year's deadline or after this season.

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    A short but true story about Kyle Gibson (&Dozier). In 2016 my son who has some special needs and I were at the Big A to watch the Twins and Angels. We were near the field on the first base side and my son was hoping to get a ball or autograph. He and I were kitted out in Twins gear. He was not able to get near the field due to 3 rows of eager Angels fans and given his challenges is not very assertive. Kyle Gibson is the starting pitcher that night and he is walking with Kurt Suzuki in from the bullpen. He hears all of the kids yelling and looks over in that direction. He then turns from his path with Suzuki and approaches the seats. He has one ball and 50 kids are yelling for it. He gets them to quiet down and waves his arms like Moses parting the sea and the kids split apart. He points up to my son and tells him the ball is for him and tosses it over. Dozier then strolls by and calls my son over to sign the ball. This happens right before the National Anthem and the start of the game. I have watched hundreds of baseball games and have never seen MLB players interact with a fan near game time. My son still refers to that day as the best day of his life. Those guys will always be our heroes.

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    Trade him for Troy Tulowitski anyone?

     

    I don't think we'd get much for him.  Teams aren't just going to look at this half year's production, so if we can get a team to give up some quality, we should jump.

     

     

    For the record, we're now almost a year into this change from Gibson.  It isn't just a half year, this run stretches back to last year.

     

    The year of control and the last year of performance should give you some interesting offers.  This team needs to sell on players like this, even if you swallow hard while you do it.

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    They'll never get a requisite return, IMO, in relation to what he could do for the team next year.

     

    A pitcher of his current caliber will also be expensive on the free agent market.

     

    If this team can figure the offense out this offseason, which is by no means out of the question, having a rotation consisting of Berrios, Romero, Gibson, Gonsalves, and some filler, could potentially compete for the division.

     

    That said, I've always been higher on Gibson's stuff than most and was an advocate of keeping him around when nearly everyone else wanted to dump him. I'm still of the opinion that what we're seeing is for real, and sustainable for the foreseeable future. Unless they're going full-blown rebuild on this thing, trading him is highly counterproductive. I'd definitely raise an eyebrow if they deal a guy like Gibson while hanging onto guys like Santana and Dozier to the bitter end.

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    They'll never get a requisite return, IMO, in relation to what he could do for the team next year.

    A pitcher of his current caliber will also be expensive on the free agent market.

    So he isn't good enough to warrant a good return on the trade market, but he is good enough to earn an expensive contract on the free agent market if he were to be a free agent?

     

    I'm sorry but this logic seems flawed.

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