Like the 1987 team, which would not have won if they had not addressed them, the 2015 Twins have some glaring weaknesses that they need to fix. These weakness are in their bullpen, at the catcher and shortstop positions, and the power department. I will be proposing three trades that the Twins need to make right now to not only ensure the continuation of competitiveness, but to propel themselves to the next level.
Trade number 1
Danny Santana, Mike Tonkin and Jake Reed to the Oakland Athletics for Ben Zorbrist and Tyler Clippard.
Why would the Twins do it:
Tyler Clippard, even though he is not a top closer any more, would be a great improvement over the likes of Casey Fien and Blair Boyer in solidifying the RH setup spot in the pen. Zorbrist brings a glove that plays in every position in the diamond and would solidify the utility role shared by the Eduardos (Escobar and Nunez.) The Twins should call up their number 2 prospect (after they called up number 1 and number 3), Jorge Polanco, who is the future and the present of the team as the starter at shortstop. The 21-year-old has been hitting .300/.340/.399 between Chattanooga and Rochester and his glove is at least as good as Santana's at this point.
Zorbrist and Clippard are 30-something, but are free agents after this season, so the financial commitment is not going to impede any future teams. Clippard can potentially be extended, if his performance dictates it. The Twins are not losing that much in Santana, Tonkin and Reed. Santana, despite his comet-like 2014, still profiles as a utility player and needs work on both sides on the plate, Tonkin had plenty of opportunities to prove himself in the bigs, many more than relievers with better minor league records, like Anthony Slama, and has failed. He still has a 95 mph fastball that an organization will find useful.
Jake Reed has had a good pro career so far, but has had an abysmal 2015 and the Twins' draft has brought in at least right-handed relief pithcers to the Twins' minors (Nick Burdi, J.T. Chargois, Brandon Peterson, A.J. Achter - in no order) ahead of him, thus making him expandable. It will also allow Jorge Polanco to join Sano and Buxton, making the future the present. Yes, the Twins are losing some talent, but they need to give value to get value and have better talent in those positions.
Why would the Athletics do it:
Other than the prorated $16 million reasons between the two players (about $7.5 M in salary relief), for a team that is not going anywhere, they are getteing three young players who do have potential. Santana's 2014 season might have not been as much a mirage as I think it was, and two young arms with high 90s heat and records of some success, are more than something to consider.
This is probably the definition of a win-win trade.
Originally published at The Tenth Inning Stretch