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  • Three Trades The Twins Must Make Now, Part I


    Thrylos

    A couple of days after the All-Star Game, the Twins find themselves nine games above .500, and in the midst of a competitive season. The fact that the Twins are competing might be a surprise to some, but from what I had seen in spring training, this team had all the making of a competing team, and I even compared it to the 1987 team.

    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

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    The Twins get two players that won't be around in 2016. They trade Tonkin, who will be bypassed anyway come the fall 40-man decisions more than likely. They move Santana, who can already be replaced by Esobar and probably by Polanco. They give the A's Jake Reed, who is at least one year away from being a lights out bullpen guy. Win-Win for the A's. But Ben basically repalces Nunez (so what do we do with him) and Tyler would bump someone else out of the bullpen to...where......

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    That seems a bit light for the A's.

     

    I'd guess Zobrist alone gets one prospect better than any of those three.

     

    Zobrist does.

     

    I think if you subtract a reliever from the Twins and Zobrist from the A's you probably have a trade, maybe Santana straight up.

     

    I'm not sure if the upgrade Zobrist provides is worth the cost it will take.

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    Come on, you are smarter then this. There is 0% chance of that trade happening, you are giving up Santana, who has plenty of questions on whether he will ever be a ML regular, Tonkin, who has done zilch in his numerous call ups to the big and Jake Reed, a relief pitcher (prospect) who probably doesn't crack the A's top 25 and is currently rocking a 5.87 ERA in AA this year.

     

    There is no reason for the A's to make that trade.

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    The Twins get two players that won't be around in 2016. They trade Tonkin, who will be bypassed anyway come the fall 40-man decisions more than likely. They move Santana, who can already be replaced by Esobar and probably by Polanco. They give the A's Jake Reed, who is at least one year away from being a lights out bullpen guy. Win-Win for the A's. But Ben basically repalces Nunez (so what do we do with him) and Tyler would bump someone else out of the bullpen to...where......

    Jake Reed is a long ways from being any sort of major league player, much less a "lights out set up guy", he is getting shelled in AA and his stats are significantly down across the board.

     

    If Tonkin is going to get DFAed eventually anyways, why would the A's give up an asset for him?

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    When I think of the A's and their general desire for a strong OBP, some pop and their disregard for base stealing, Danny Santana is one of the last guys I would think of.

     

    While the athletic ability of Santana might be what is most desired by nearly every other club, if the Twins had one SS that appealed to Billy Beane, almost certainly it would be Eduardo Nunez.

     

    Of course he's not going to headline any trade of significance.

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    When I think of the A's and their general desire for a strong OBP, some pop and their disregard for base stealing, Danny Santana is one of the last guys I would think of.

     

    While the athletic ability of Santana might be what is most desired by nearly every other club, if the Twins had one SS that appealed to Billy Beane, almost certainly it would be Eduardo Nunez.

     

    Of course he's not going to headline any trade of significance.

     

    That's not necessarily the A's profile anymore.

     

    Santana for a reliever is very possible if a team wants to take a shot on him.

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    That's not necessarily the A's profile anymore.

     

    Santana for a reliever is very possible if a team wants to take a shot on him.

     

    Perhaps they're stealing more, but aside from this year, in which they are losing, they have been the top, or among the top BB% team in the league each of the past fifteen years including last year when they led the league by a mile. 

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    Echoing the above, Tonkin and Reed are worth very, very little right now.  And while the book isn't closed on Santana, he's definitely trending closer to bust at the moment -- teams tend not to seek out those types of players unless they are nearly out of options and come very cheaply (i.e. not for MLB level talent).

     

    Zobrist is a very reliable 115 OPS+ hitter at the moment, whose primary position has been second base.  This past winter he was traded (with Yunel Escobar) for a 115 OPS+ MLB catcher, a solid Polanco type recent 1st round infield prospect, plus another non-40 man prospect.  None of whom were recently struggling.

     

    Zobrist is much closer to a qualifying offer than a salary dump.

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    For that matter, while he's not the most impressive reliever on the market, Clippard has a 146 ERA+ this year and a career 149 ERA+ out of the bullpen.  I am not sure Oakland needs to take a salary dump approach to moving him either, or settle for struggling potential relievers / utility players, although he's certainly more likely to be moved for a package like this than Zobrist.

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    No thanks on Zobrist but I'm interested in Clippard.  At this point the other trade the Twins should make is to send the Braves a warm body for Graham.  They can then option him to Rochester and bring up somebody with a chance.  I'm not a big believer in Tonkin but he would be a clear improvement over Graham at this point.

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    Really? I think if they just used Graham it would be fine, but they refuse to use him for some reason. Then next year, they'll put him on an innings' limit, since he didn't pitch much this year. Then, in 2 years, they'll be turning him into a RP, since the SP will be full.......that's my prediction anyway.

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    No thanks on Zobrist but I'm interested in Clippard.  At this point the other trade the Twins should make is to send the Braves a warm body for Graham.  They can then option him to Rochester and bring up somebody with a chance.  I'm not a big believer in Tonkin but he would be a clear improvement over Graham at this point.

    The Braves won't take a warm body. In a similar situation, they got a 2nd round pick for Diamond. I like Graham where he is, and feel he has a decent chance to make the team next season. We all want power arms in the pen, Pressly and Graham are at least a start.

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    Really? I think if they just used Graham it would be fine, but they refuse to use him for some reason. Then next year, they'll put him on an innings' limit, since he didn't pitch much this year. Then, in 2 years, they'll be turning him into a RP, since the SP will be full.......that's my prediction anyway.

    Graham and Tonkin are similar in that they have fastballs that have little movement and don't control their breaking pitches that well.  Especially in this day and age, 95 mile per hour fastballs that are straight won't get many guys out.  I'm not saying that they can't make it but I think people are too enamored by the fact that they throw harder than what we've had a in the pen.

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    Trades with the A's are far more likely when cash is included.

    Really?  Both of Oakland's MLB deals involving cash this past winter, the cash was sent FROM Oakland.  They also sent out cash in the Samardzija and Brett Anderson deals in 2014 (although they also received cash in the Lester and Dunn deals).

     

    As cheap as they are, I doubt Oakland has much interest in cash, particularly when they're not taking on any salary (which presumably they would not be, if they received young players or prospects in return).

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    Graham and Tonkin are similar in that they have fastballs that have little movement and don't control their breaking pitches that well.  Especially in this day and age, 95 mile per hour fastballs that are straight won't get many guys out.  I'm not saying that they can't make it but I think people are too enamored by the fact that they throw harder than what we've had a in the pen.

     

    then why do they care if they keep him, if he's not good?

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    I'm not sure why the Twins want Zobrist. Yeah, he's a good player but Escobar is just fine in the utility role (if not starting at short) and the Twins don't have room in the OF to get Zobrist enough plate appearances.

     

    That's the kind of rental trade I don't want to see the Twins make in July. Ryan shouldn't be pushing the kids out of the lineup, he should find more aggressive ways to get them into the lineup.

     

    We need to remove an outfielder - probably Robinson - to clear room for the bats of Arcia, Sano, and possibly Buxton, should he return this season. The Twins have Rosario and Hicks on the roster and probably Buxton in the near future. Robinson should be replaced with a bat, namely Arcia.

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    then why do they care if they keep him, if he's not good?

    Potential.  I am not interested in cutting the guy, rather he shouldn't be in the pen of a team in contention.  He should be in AAA getting ready for next year.

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    I know for a fact Terry Ryan is a big Zobrist fan -- who wouldn't be -- but just can't see this being enough. I have thought about Santana and how he'd be a fit for the A's, but just can't see them taking on another shaky shortstop with Semien in tow. 

     

    This deal doesn't add up for me. 

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    The Braves won't take a warm body. In a similar situation, they got a 2nd round pick for Diamond. I like Graham where he is, and feel he has a decent chance to make the team next season. We all want power arms in the pen, Pressly and Graham are at least a start.

     

    We traded for Scott Diamond in March.  We're approaching the 2/3rds mark of the season.  Braves should take what they can get at this point.  If not, I agree, Graham still offers some utility in the pen, no more or less than Tonkin I'd imagine.  

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    Graham and Tonkin are similar in that they have fastballs that have little movement and don't control their breaking pitches that well.  Especially in this day and age, 95 mile per hour fastballs that are straight won't get many guys out.  I'm not saying that they can't make it but I think people are too enamored by the fact that they throw harder than what we've had a in the pen.

    JR Graham has much better stuff than Michael Tonkin. Graham's fastball does move, he throws a variety of them, and his delivery is harder to read. His breaking stuff is electric, though it's true he needs to keep refining his command.

     

    Tonkin is a decent two-pitch reliever. Graham has enough pitches to be a potential future starter. Personally I rank Graham about even in potential with Trevor May. Tonkin I see as maybe a comp to Casey Fien.

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