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  • Twins Catcher May Be Marlins Perfect Catch


    Cody Christie

    The Marlins have pitching and need an offensive upgrade at catcher. The Twins have catching and plenty of need in their starting rotation. Is this trade match too good to be true?

     

    Image courtesy of Jesse Johnson, USA TODAY Sports

    It's clear that starting pitching is Minnesota's biggest priority this winter, and the team will have to be creative to fill all the starting rotation needs. One of the avenues will undoubtedly be to explore the trade market. Free-agent starting pitching costs a premium, and the current regime hasn't been successful signing players in the past. 

    Enter the Miami Marlins and their surplus of starting pitching. It seems like no team can have too much starting pitching, but the Marlins have a strong farm system and other MLB-ready options. According to MLB Pipeline, six of their top-10 prospects are pitchers, including four pitchers at the Double-A level or higher.

    Marlins manager Don Mattingly made it clear that upgrading catcher is a priority for the club this winter. "It's an area we're looking at," Mattingly said. "It's fairly safe to say it was some kind of message when we grabbed two catchers at the trade deadline and we also have Nick Fortes up here."

    Fortes, a 2018 MLB Draft pick, posted a 1.030 OPS in 34 plate appearances. However, he has a .651 OPS in 190 minor league games. Alex Jackson and Payton Henry, both catchers acquired at the deadline, struggled after joining the Marlins organization. With no clear long-term option, the Marlins can look to the free-agent class, but Yan Gomes (98 OPS+) is the best option.

    Minnesota entered the season with what looked like one of baseball's best catching duos, but there were some struggles along the way. Ryan Jeffers struggled offensively at the Triple-A and MLB-level. Mitch Garver found his swing after a rough first month, but he was limited to 68 games. Minnesota's catching future is uncertain with both players' inconsistent 2021 campaign.

    From the Twins' perspective, Garver seems like the more likely player to be traded. He is six years older than Jeffers, and he has multiple years of team control remaining. Trading Garver allows the Twins to give Jeffers more regular at-bats, and it also provides the team with an opportunity to bring in a left-handed veteran catcher to serve in a back-up role (unless they feel that Ben Rortvedt is ready for such a role). 

    Other teams with established catchers are likely to reach out to the Marlins. Last winter, Miami had discussions about acquiring Willson Contreras from the Cubs, but he is only one year away from free agency. MLB Trade Rumors identified Arizona's Carson Kelly and Pittsburgh's Jacob Stallings as other possible trade candidates. Kelly posted a 104 OPS+ in 98 games, while Stallings finished the year with a 92 OPS+ in 112 games. There's also no guarantee either of those teams are interested in trading their catchers. 

    To be competitive in 2022, the Twins will need to trade MLB-level assets to acquire starting pitching. Besides the catchers, other established players like Max Kepler, Josh Donaldson, and Luis Arraez will likely hear their names in the rumor mill. For now, the Twins and Marlins seem like a strong match to make a trade this winter. 

    Do you think the Marlins and the Twins will be able to work out a deal? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. 

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    Interesting idea. I wonder if a combination of Garver and Kepler would be enough to interest Miami in trading someone like Sandy Alcantra, or more likely Pablo Lopez, Sixto Sanchez or Trevor Rogers? There would undoubtedly need to be some adjusting Minor Leaguers included depending on the target but I think this is a  combination worth exploring.  BTW, I'd also be willing to swap out Jeffers for Garver or add Sano or swap him out for Kepler to get the best return. I also agree that we need to get a veteran LH backup catcher to pair with which ever catcher is left if we make a trade like this. Rotvedt isn't MLB ready at the plate yet. He needs at least another year at the AAA level and can be the emergency 3rd catcher to call up in case of injury. .  

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    Was excited to hear rumors that MIA is interested in a trade. Rowson knows that Garver is an established  premier hitting and very good defensive catcher. Arraez has value that MIA might be interested in, together with Garver could manage a respectable pitching trade. I hope so. Twins could use more than 1 respectable starting pitching addition.

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    If it's an overpay situation, fine, I like good pitching as well as the next fan. But a trade of Garver means the FO has to turn attention to finding another catcher for the 40-man who is either strong enough for us to want in the majors all season or else is acceptably good and has minor league options. Those aren't for sale cheap, which is why Miami would want one of ours. 

    I want to have a competitive advantage at several positions around the lineup, and Garver's offense provides that at catcher. You don't build a contender by being average everywhere.

    I don't believe a tandem of Jeffers/Rortvedt is championship quality for 2022, nor do I expect to incur no injuries to need to work around. None of Tomas Telis, David Banuelos, and Caleb Hamilton fit the job description, for me, as a viable third option. I'd rather Rortvedt remain the third option, until his bat develops further.

    OTOH, catcher is about the last position where I value having a total stud, since either he plays only 60% of the time or else brings roster problems by needing to DH on his days off (you can't attract a Nelson Cruz type if you have a Joe Mauer type).  So my mind isn't closed to the idea.  I just need some assurance that there is a plan beyond "gee, this looks like a good trade."  That seems like should go without saying, but too often I've wondered about a move, only to find several months later that the plan was "we'll make do with what we have."

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    39 minutes ago, LA VIkes Fan said:

    Interesting idea. I wonder if a combination of Garver and Kepler would be enough to interest Miami in trading someone like Sandy Alcantra, or more likely Pablo Lopez, Sixto Sanchez or Trevor Rogers? 

    I think Trevor Rogers would be virtually untouchable given how good he was and how much team control he has left.  Similarly, if the Marlins are building for the future they're not about to trade Sanchez.

    I think Alcantara would probably actually be the most available, though it depends on how durable they think Lopez can be.  Alcantara will be more expensive in arbitration, Lopez is half a year younger at the same arbitration stage and his stats actually look better, he just hasn't been able to stay in the rotation as much, and he does have a smaller frame.

    Alcantara definitely looks like he could fit pretty well into a Berrios shaped hole in the roster.  I'm not really crazy about trading Garver though--or Jeffers really.  I'm pretty sure Garver projects as one of the top 3 offensive producers heading into next year.  They can rotate him through the DH spot to get him more at bats (and Jeffers more at bats vs lefties).  I'm not sure his trade value is really any higher than his value to the team, it seems like it would be pretty easy to end up treading water in any move involving him.

     

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    Long shot, but Eury Perez would be my top target from the Marlins. They are so flush with pitching and with ownership pushing to go into win now mode, they may be inclined to part with a much younger prospect than guys with a closer ETA. Would also ask about Jack Eder.. Had TJ in like July i think, but was absolutely dominating. I like shooting for the high upside play here with the Marlins

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    I don't know that I think trading away current MLB position players for current MLB pitchers gets the Twins any closer to competing in 2022. I don't see the depth others do at positions with players who could bring back the type of pitching people want. Luis Arraez is the only piece I see as being extra, but he's not the type of player who brings back the type of arms people are talking about. I don't see Garver as being expendable. All you're doing is creating another hole in another place. I think Garver is a top 3 bat for catchers in baseball, how do you plan to replace that? Jeffers and Rortvedt don't replace that. They simply don't. Garver is one of the team's 5 best hitters. How are you going to replace that? I think the lineup is thin the way it is. A Polanco injury next year and things get real bad real quick. 

    If you want to talk about shipping out prospects for major league arms I'd listen to that, but I don't see the MLB for MLB trade situation helping the 2022 W/L record. Kepler's no star, but his glove and league average bat are still more than anything that would replace him. Trade him and Garver? They're not good enough to bring back a #1 pitcher, but probably could get a #2 so now you have #1 and #3 rotation spots open and RF and C are significantly worse instead of having #1,2,3 rotation spots open while your lineup is good enough to compete. I don't think filling the #2 spot in the rotation counterbalances having to replace 2 starting positions players. FA $, prospect trades, and prospect development are what I think the road to competition looks like. Unless they're blowing it up and reshuffling everything. In which case it'll be one wild offseason.

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    Garver is the better hitter by a wide margin over Jeffers. He would bring more in trade value, but as is pointed out here the loss in value to the Twins is significant.

    If the Twins deal Garver they need to get proven MLB front-line (#2 / 1- type) pitching in return.

    The Marlins may have that pitcher to deal.

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    It's nice to have pitching but you also have to be able to score runs to win. Trading away one of your better hitters in Garver won't make you better. Garver should/could play every 3 to 4 games out of 5. A starting pitcher plays 1 game out of 5. If you are going to trade 3 or 4 games for the guy giving you the 1 game, he better be really, really good.

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    Lets get realistic, I don't see the Twins competing for any playoffs in 2022. They probably have a tough time finishing third in the division. If we look forward to 23&24 we can make better deals and plans for the team.

    With that in mind, trading Garver is the best choice, as he will be 31 at the start of next year. We know that the Twins will have to build a good staff from within or through the acquisition of high caliber pitching prospects. Thats the only way they could win any playoff games the next time the opportunity arrives. We've tried in recent years to sign high priced free agents pitchers and it didn't happen.

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    The chances Garver and Jeffers both remain healthy and playing well for most of the season and the team is still in contention at the deadline are less than half I'd guess. Then you've got at Rortvedt who isn't ready.

    A Twins' team that is serious about '22 going in should put very high price tag on Garver. Or maybe he's even not expendable as suggested above by chpettit.

    Catchers only play 2/3 of games anyway so having two is at worst only a minor problem.

    Besides that even, if both are playing well and there aren't enough at bats to go around I doubt, you can still trade during the season, and for a pitcher who is showing at the time.

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    On paper this sounds like a good idea. But in reality I don't like it. I think Garver's bat is just too important to move. Echoing previous comments, his bat is needed and he should be spending time at DH as well going forward, something I've been championing for some time. 

    I could buy in to trading Jeffers with someone else to make a move like thus, even though I hate to lose him as I think he has a bright future. If that was done, we'd need to bring in another backup, preferably LH, as I just don't think Rortvedt is ready yet. 

    I keep reflecting on the Odorizzi and Maeda trades and want to believe they can pull another rabbit out of their cap for a solid starter, along with a FA signing, using some milb depth.

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    A good pitcher is the single most important need for the Twins. In fact, they need three starters and likely two relievers. The shocking reality is that this offseason there is a real opportunity to actually complete those necessary additions. What is going to hurt is the pieces given up in a few trades, but as Linus has already stated, "you have to give something valuable up."

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    7 hours ago, chpettit19 said:

    I don't know that I think trading away current MLB position players for current MLB pitchers gets the Twins any closer to competing in 2022.

    I don't think competing in 2022 is an achievable goal

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    29 minutes ago, DJL44 said:
    7 hours ago, chpettit19 said:

     

    I don't think competing in 2022 is an achievable goal

    Does Falvey and Pohlad believe that competing in 2022 is doable - those are the guys who need to believe. All we can do is think about the possibilities and wait until the decisions are made. The Twins have a chance to compete but action will need to occur on both the trading front and within the free agent market. 

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    3 hours ago, tony&rodney said:

    Does Falvey and Pohlad believe that competing in 2022 is doable - those are the guys who need to believe. All we can do is think about the possibilities and wait until the decisions are made. The Twins have a chance to compete but action will need to occur on both the trading front and within the free agent market. 

    Pohlad gives the same answer every October: "we intend to be competitive not just next year, but every year".   Falvey hears that and parrots it.  And that is where you are right: what do they tell each other when they are done BSing us?  Don't you wish you could be a fly on that wall?

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    I don't know why they would even consider trading Garver. In my opinion catcher is the most important position player in major league baseball. Even though Jeffers and Rortvedt put up some disappointing numbers this season they are good catchers. But they are no Garver. The Twins have a strength at catching and need to keep it. Trying to plug a leak while creating another just doesn't work and this organization has proved that in the past. The fact is the Twins don't have a lot of asset strength (depth) to trade... except for maybe 3rd base.

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    The Twins can certainly be competitive in 2022.  We compete in the A.L. Central for Pete's sake !  Not the N.L. West where 106 wins gets you SECOND PLACE !!   I've been suggesting a trade with the Marlins for quite a while, but the trades suggested on this thread don't even come close and the trade that I had suggested now doesn't either.  Garver may be a better hitter than Jeffers but his value is much less (Garver 18.1 and 30 years old, Jeffers 27.9).  I had suggested a trade of Jeffers and Larnach  56.6 total value for Alcantara  56.6 total value according to Baseball Trade Values.  Unfortunately, they've been UPDATING their trade values and Alcantara just shot up to 74.50 !!  Now, the Jeffers and Larnach deal isn't even close.  And Trevor Rogers??  He's at 96.7 !!!  He ain't going anywhere.  So as much as I was sure the Twins could swing a deal for Alcantara and sign a #1 for $20-million a year or so, that's not looking good (at least the Alcantara part).  But as others have pointed out, Miami is STACKED with pitching prospects.  

    Max Meyer 28.1,  Sixto Sanchez 9.5 (health issues) Pablo Lopez 53.8.  It looks to me that the Twins should use Jeffers and Larnach  (56.6) and look for 2 of Meyer, Sanchez or Lopez.  If Lopez and Sanchez the Twins would have to sweeten with a Canterino.  If Meyer and Sanchez the Marlins would need to send something extra.  I'm not sure about the health of Sanchez, that's why he's valued so low, and while I love Max Meyer, is he ready to step right into our rotation and be a #3 or #2 ?  I'd prefer two vets at #1 & #2 and Meyer, Ryan and Ober at #3-#5.  Guys like Donaldson (-34.7) and Sano (-11.2) are NEGATIVE trade assets, which is why you have to keep them unless you trade for someone else's negative trade asset and take on as much salary as you're dumping.  It's why the twins are probably better off keeping both of them, at least for now.    

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    Each year the twins off season has been hyped by possible big trades and big free agent signings.  Most of the time it is just that:. Hype and a lot of what ifs.  This year I plan to listen much less to the hype and bs we hear from management.  Hopefully they will do what they promised:  a championship caliber team.

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    49 minutes ago, TopGunn#22 said:

    We compete in the A.L. Central for Pete's sake ! 

    Another AL Central title followed by a sweep in the playoffs? No thanks.

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    In fact, here's a trade for everyone to chew on:

    Marlins get:  Jeffers  27.9  Larnach  28.7  J. Duran  6.9     63.50

    Twins get:  Max Meyer  28.1  Sixto Sanchez  9.5  Watson  25.0  62.60.

    Marlins get their catcher of the future and a corner OF bat in Larnach (they need offense desperately) and Duran, a lottery ticket that with health could prove to be an excellent throw in.

    Twins get a young SP with great potential in Max Meyer (and a Minnesota Boy) and their own lottery ticket in Sixto Sanchez who could be electric if he can stay healthy as well as Watson, a highly rated SS prospect.  The values work out to be a fair trade.  Full disclosure:  I know NOTHING about Watson other than he's a SS prospect and he's valued at 25.0.  That interests me.  Lewis & Martin are not locks for SS.  They may be OF'ers.  Watson is purely a SS.  I don't know how old he is, what level he's currently played to or his relative strengths and weaknesses.  I just know he's blocked by Jazz Chisholm and he makes the trade fair.  

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    For the same reason we have interest in trading Garver and keeping Jeffers other teams would have interest in Jeffers over Garver.  The main plus about Garver, is he will never be a very high cost guy because by time he is FA he will be past prime, but that is also a problem as he is not a 6 year option either for a team, he is a bridge to the future, but not the future.  Only teams that are on the verge of doing things that need a catcher will want to give up much of anything for Garver.  

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    18 hours ago, bighat said:

    Jeffers ended the season batting .198 - a healthy sample size, too. Are we sure he and Rortvedt are the answer for the Twins? What are the Twins going to do if they trade away the only catcher who can hit?

     

    Jeffers OPS was over .800 in June and July when Garver was out and Jeffers was the primary catcher.  His offense is capable when he plays full time for a catcher and doesn't have to face right handed pitching all the time.

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    1 hour ago, TopGunn#22 said:

    In fact, here's a trade for everyone to chew on:

    Marlins get:  Jeffers  27.9  Larnach  28.7  J. Duran  6.9     63.50

    Twins get:  Max Meyer  28.1  Sixto Sanchez  9.5  Watson  25.0  62.60.

    Marlins get their catcher of the future and a corner OF bat in Larnach (they need offense desperately) and Duran, a lottery ticket that with health could prove to be an excellent throw in.

    Twins get a young SP with great potential in Max Meyer (and a Minnesota Boy) and their own lottery ticket in Sixto Sanchez who could be electric if he can stay healthy as well as Watson, a highly rated SS prospect.  The values work out to be a fair trade.  Full disclosure:  I know NOTHING about Watson other than he's a SS prospect and he's valued at 25.0.  That interests me.  Lewis & Martin are not locks for SS.  They may be OF'ers.  Watson is purely a SS.  I don't know how old he is, what level he's currently played to or his relative strengths and weaknesses.  I just know he's blocked by Jazz Chisholm and he makes the trade fair.  

    There is a 0% chance the Marlins trade their 2020 #3 overall pick and their 2021 first round, HS SS prospect along with the main return for JT Realmuto for Jeffers, Larnach, and Duran. That's 2 elite arms who are 22 and 23 years old (and they expect to be in their rotation next year) and an 18 year old electric athlete at SS. Duran is the youngest Twin in that deal and he's older than every piece coming back. MLB.com has Watson ranked #27 overall amongst prospects, Max Meyer #30, and Sixto #41. I'd guess all 3 are in more top 50 lists than not. They're not giving up 3 top 50 global prospects for a league average catcher, a corner outfield bat, and a worse pitching prospect than they're giving up. Never happening.

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    I also don't think that larger package works.  But how close are we in a swap of:

    Mitch Garver 

    for

    Max Meyer or Sixto Sanchez

    Is that sort of one for one a viable path?  If so, I make that trade in a heartbeat.

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