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  • 2021 Twins Trade Deadline Review: Retooling

    Cody Christie

    Last season was one to forget for the Twins as the team underperformed and finished in last place. Thankfully, multiple trade deadline deals helped keep the team's winning window open.

    Image courtesy of Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

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    Derek Falvey and Thad Levine took over Minnesota's baseball operations department leading into the 2017 season. Each season has taken on a different feel, but they have a track record of making moves at the trade deadline. This series will look back at each trade deadline under this regime.

    Minnesota's front office likely wasn't planning on being sellers, but a terrible start to 2021 put the team in a bad spot. Luckily, there was a silver lining to a last-place finish as the team made multiple trades that looked to have long-term impacts. 

    Trade 1 (July 22, 2021)
    Twins Receive: P Joe Ryan, P Drew Strotman
    Rays Receive: DH Nelson Cruz, P Calvin Faucher

    Minnesota helped to get the trade market moving last season when they dealt Nelson Cruz to the Rays. Tampa had previously shown interest in Cruz, so it seemed like a good match. The Twins were looking for pitching that was close to being ready for the big-league level. Joe Ryan was the team's Opening Day starter this year and has been one of the team's best starters since he joined the rotation. Cruz struggled down the stretch for the Rays, and Boston eliminated Tampa in the ALDS. Drew Strotman transitioned to a bullpen role at Triple-A and has a 7.49 ERA in 24 appearances. Calvin Faucher has made 14 appearances for the Rays with a 7.11 ERA. 

    Trade 2 (July 30, 2021)
    Twins Receive: SS Austin Martin, P Simeon Woods Richardson
    Blue Jays Receive: P Jose Berrios

    This trade will continue to be intriguing to dissect as time passes. The Blue Jays acquired Berrios and quickly signed him to a 7-year, $131 million extension. His first full season in Toronto hasn't gone as planned as he leads the American League in earned runs and home runs allowed. Austin Martin has seen his stock drop, with a .691 OPS in his second stint at Double-A. However, it is only his second professional season, and he is still considered one of the organization's top prospects. Simeon Woods Richardson's performance puts him in the conversation for the organization's top pitching prospect. In 11 starts, he has a 3.40 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP with a 53-to-19 strikeout to walk ratio. 

    Trade 3 (July 30, 2021)
    Twins Receive: P Alex Scherff
    Red Sox Receive: P Hansel Robles

    Minnesota signed Hansel Robles leading into the 2021 season to help the bullpen improve. There was no reason to keep him on the roster with an expiring contract. In Boston, his numbers improved as he posted a 3.60 ERA with a 1.36 WHIP in 27 appearances. They brought him back for the start of the 2022 season, but he struggled with a 5.84 ERA, and the team released him. After being acquired by the Twins, Alex Scherff didn't pitch last season, but the club assigned him to Double-A for the start of the 2022 campaign. In 25 appearances, he has a 5.27 ERA with a 1.50 WHIP and a 28-to-15 strikeout to walk ratio. 

    Trade 4 (July 30, 2021)
    Twins Receive: P Evan Sisk, P John Gant
    Cardinals Receive: P J.A. Happ  

    Many had been clamoring for J.A. Happ to be out of the Twins rotation for most of the season. In 19 starts, he posted a 6.77 ERA with a 1.59 WHIP, but the Cardinals thought they could get something out of the veteran. After the trade, Happ lowered his ERA to 4.00 and had a 1.28 WHIP to help the Cardinals get into Wild Card position. Minnesota used John Gant at the end of last season as a starter and reliever, but his cost was going to be too high to keep him in arbitration. Gant is pitching this year in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball League. Evan Sisk has been one of the organization's best relievers this season. In 28 appearances between Double- and Triple-A, he has a 1.18 ERA with a 0.97 WHIP and 9.5 K/9. 

    Looking back at last year's deadline, it's easier to see how the front office felt they were retooling to be contenders again in 2022. Not all of the trades have worked out perfectly to this point, but there is still time for some of the prospects involved to continue developing. 

    What do you remember most about last year's trade deadline? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. 

    -2017 Trade Deadline
    -2018 Trade Deadline
    -2019 Trade Deadline

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    Our FO loves to be courted so they love to be sellers and have done well there. To inniate trades I'm more leary although they picked up Romo, which was a small trade but helped out a lot. We need a complimentary closer to Duran, a front line SP and a catcher would be nice. I hope they're up to it.

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    Austin is a curious case.

    While I know there are always exceptions to any rule, I'd say (without watching him play) that he's yet another example of why you don't rush prospects as they acclimate to professional baseball.

    Still in awe the Happ trade happened.

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    If I was the Twins FO, I'd be willing to move Sonny Gray for a high-end prospect. I kinda like that Petty kid pitching for Daytona in the Reds organization. We could throw in another arm in the deal. - maybe someone like Francis Peguero.

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