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  • Would You Do This Trade? Josh Donaldson to the Brewers for …


    Tom Froemming

    We’re still a ways out from the trade deadline but with the Minnesota Twins off to a horrible start some ideas are being bounced around early. MLB Network’s Mark DeRosa threw out a hypothetical deal that would send Josh Donaldson to Milwaukee. Let’s take a closer look.

    Image courtesy of © Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

    Before we get to the actual proposal, I just want to make sure to be extra clear that this is a hypothetical scenario that DeRosa is throwing out there. This isn’t a trade in the works that’s being reported or even a trade rumor. This is DeRosa just spitballing an idea he feels makes sense.

    Does it? 

    DeRosa has Josh Donaldson and $15 million in cold, hard cash going to the Milwaukee Brewers for veteran center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. and left-handed pitching prospect Antoine Kelly. 

    Donaldson is owed the prorated amount of his $21.75 million salary for this year, that full amount for next season and has a $16 million option for 2023 that comes with an $8 million buyout. Bradley Jr. signed a two-year $24 million deal prior to this season and is playing terribly for the Brewers (.160/.228/.294 in 180 plate appearances). Kelly is ranked by MLB Pipeline as Milwaukee’s No. 6 prospect. He’s also broken. The 21-year-old is recovering from surgery to correct thoracic outlet syndrome.

    Here’s video of the segment in which DeRosa explained the logic behind the idea:

    Basically, this would be the Brewers (30-26) taking a shot at what appears to be a very winnable NL Central while the Twins are primarily getting salary relief, though sending that large a chunk of cash along with taking on Bradley’s money negates that to a degree.

    I encourage you to share your thoughts in the comments.

    For me, this doesn’t make sense for the Twins. It is, however, a great example of the type of deal the Twins may be faced with if they did try to trade away Josh Donaldson. Even though I don’t think this is a particularly great trade hypothetical, I do appreciate getting an unbiased thought from DeRosa here.

    With the Twins struggling, it’s easy to say they need to trade veterans for prospects but players who are owed large sums of money often actually have negative trade value. If there’s anything to take away from DeRosa’s proposal, I think it’s that. 

    I think Twins fans as a whole have been disappointed in Donaldson’s production thus far, but he’s actually hit better for the Twins than he did in the season he played with Atlanta prior to coming here, in terms of league averages. Donaldson had a 124 OPS+ in 2019 and has a 133 mark so far with the Twins. I wouldn't be desperate to trade him away. Speaking of desperation, I know Bradley Jr. would fill the Twins' current need for a center fielder, but it doesn't sound like Byron Buxton is too far off from a return.

    I expect the Twins to be open to the idea of trading Donaldson, but don’t think packaging him with a bunch of cash for an overpaid and underperforming player and a broken prospect is what they’d have in mind. OK, maybe that’s selling Kelly a bit short. He was a second rounder in 2019, about a dozen picks after the Twins took Matt Canterino, but TOS just scares me. That can be such a mysterious injury.

    Still, this proposal serves as a good reality check in terms of what Donaldson’s perceived trade value is right now.


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    According to Baseball Trade Values, the Brewers would reject this trade. Hard to believe Donaldson's salary would drag him down that much, given that ZiPS still forecasts 2.4 WAR over the rest of the season (for a 2021 total of 3.7 fWAR). Another 3 WAR in 2022 would make it 5.4 WAR for the Brewers at $42.7 mil, or $7.9 mil per win.

    Compared to Bradley's rest of season forecast of 0.8 WAR, for a 2021 total of 0.4 fWAR, that doesn't seem too shabby.

    image.thumb.png.006517a378a3e3822a7fed185d3f03f4.png

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    If it were only trading the salary, an argument could be made, But makes no sense to trade salary and then include 15M cash. JBJ is a disaster, but taking on JBJ guarantees and trading JD's gives the Twins a positive net of appx 23M. Milwaukee can keep the kid with the TOS recovery. One for one, no cash would be the deal if its just a salary issue. If we need to rebuild pitching staff 2022, that's 23M we otherwise do not have. Maybe there is a different team where that sort of deal might make more sense than Milwaukee--Yankees? I dont believe their 3B crew is exactly lighting it up.

    But who then plays 3B 2022? Another FA?

    I'm all for trading salary, if it creates space to rebuild pitching roster, and IF Twins' ownership is serious about reinvesting the net into payroll. If not, keep JD and pay the freight.

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    I was not a fan of the Donaldson signing to begin with - Too much money owed on these late years.   But trading one problem for two of another team’s problems makes no sense. Donaldson will contribute something next year and then we can see whether to buy out or have him show up for one more year.  
    Trade something that will net more: Buxton, Berrios.  Pined.   If we are dumping veterans, look to dump our rent a players Cruz, Simmons, Robles, Colome (in descending order of likelihood anyone would be interested). 

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    11 minutes ago, Nash Walker said:

    Creating holes at both SS and 3B should not be the objective if this team wants to compete in 2022. Re-tool, not rebuild. 

    Exactly. The answer to the trade Donaldson question is do you intend to compete next year? My take is, he is coming on right about now. He usually does. He will mash from here on out I think, and probably start slow again next spring. We should be dealing others barring a miracle in the next 3 weeks.

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    I'd say no.  I'd think they'd be able to find a better deal elsewhere, but I'm purely guessing.  That said, I wouldn't expect a huge return on a Donaldson trade given his salary, age and injury history.  Which is why I wasn't overly thrilled about the deal in the first place.

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    I would trade Donaldson. A deal where they take on some bad money and send money in exchange for a prospect is feasible.

    That number 6 ranking for Kelly has to come before TOS. He is not worth the cost now. They are better off with Donaldson. Ashby at number 7 might make sense. This is where we need Falvey’s staff needs to acquire that pitching talent as they did in Cleveland.

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    In this deal they are offloading salary and getting a prospect. I don’t like the prospect but this is a deal for the future. Maybe the 15 million makes it close to wash through 2022 but wouldn’t there be significant offloading of salary for 2023?

    They may get lucky and Bradley starts hitting at the 800 OPS he had last year. He might turn into another trade for a prospect. Otherwise it is a smaller sunk cost than Donaldson.

    If the Twins want to get anything in return for Donaldson they are going to need to pay off a good chunk of his salary. The Brewer deal might not be the right deal but any deal is going to look something like this.

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    This particular trade I am not in favor of, give me a pitching prospect that isn't coming off thoracic outlet surgery or tommy john and I am all for it.

    I think they move multiple players but I doubt Donaldson is one of them.  Its hard to get much value for an overpaid vet that looks over the hill, and he could just slide into DH next year when Cruz is presumably gone.

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    14 hours ago, spycake said:

    According to Baseball Trade Values, the Brewers would reject this trade. Hard to believe Donaldson's salary would drag him down that much, given that ZiPS still forecasts 2.4 WAR over the rest of the season (for a 2021 total of 3.7 fWAR). Another 3 WAR in 2022 would make it 5.4 WAR for the Brewers at $42.7 mil, or $7.9 mil per win.

    Compared to Bradley's rest of season forecast of 0.8 WAR, for a 2021 total of 0.4 fWAR, that doesn't seem too shabby.

    image.thumb.png.006517a378a3e3822a7fed185d3f03f4.png

    Quoting myself, I missed the part about the Twins including $15 mil cash. That would satisfy Baseball Trade Values but obviously makes the deal even worse for the Twins.

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    I'm all in favor of making some significant changes in Twins-Land.  But I'm going to pass on this particular deal.  Bradley has never done anything for me, just not a fan, and if Josh gets "hot" even his pricey contract will have a couple of teams needing a 3B (Mets, Brewers) very interested in adding his bat and glove to their lineup.  I "get" that his contract makes him a negative value as well (I've played a bit at Baseball Trade Values) but these are contending teams looking to make a move or two to get over the hump.  I can't see the Twins taking on a dumpster fire like JBjr and a pitcher currently coming off TOS.  But, keep the speculation coming...casue we're gonna be dealin' !!!  

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    This team is ready for retooling, not a complete overhaul, so I have to vote with a loud NO to trading Donaldson for bag of balls.  Ditto for any dump of Sano.  Why trade either one at their low point when they can be parts of a contender?  We have no one in the foreseeable future to replace Josh, nor do we have a better replacement for Cruz(who should be traded) than Sano, at least for next year.  And selling off guys like Buxton, Simmons, Berrios and Pineda makes no sense in a retooling effort, at least this year.  I had high hopes for Celestino, but he's way too raw.  Berrios and Pineda will be needed in 2022 to at least have a competitive rotation, with Maeda(?), Dobnak and one of the rooks rounding out the staff.

    This is not to say the FO should be cautious pre-deadline.  Getting rid of Happ and Shoemaker is a no-brainer.  Cruz should bring back something, hopefully a bullpen piece that starts the rebuild there.  Since the FO deems Polanco insufficient at SS, then both he and Arraez should battle for 2B long term(thinking Arraez would fit in as super-utility player was as mis-guided as trying Sano in the OF).  The loser of that battle would make a nice trade piece, perhaps for a good bullpen piece or top 100 prospect..  Simmonns should be resigned for one more year, giving Lewis one more year of development.  And certainly Kepler should be shopped, with emergence of Larnach/Kirrilof bolstering the OF, but with Buxton's long term future with the Twins uncertain, Kepler should only be traded in a package involving major league-ready pitching.

    And finally, as distasteful as this might seem, the Twins have little choice other than rush some of their top minor league pitching prospects to the big league club, preferrably in bullpen roles to start to see what they bring.  Yes, somewhat risky, but the FO must use this disaster to retool for the future.  As bad as 2021 has been, it is a chance to retool for next year, assuming we have a base going forward.  If not, than,  yes, a wholesale selloff would be necessary.  Big question:  can this FO, manager, and coaches be the ones to lead the rebuild?

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    While I can see the possibility of trading Donaldson, who has underperformed for what we are paying him and doesn't stay healthy, the above trade is ludicrous and makes absolutely no sense. Why would we want a broken prospect and a CF who can't hit? Bradley had 1 decent season and that's it. All he is is a late inning defensive replacement. And we don't need a center fielder (though Buxton can't stay healthy either). And who is this DeRosa who seems to know nothing.

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