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  • 3 Twins Trade Targets to Watch


    Nash Walker

    The Twins have a lot more baseball to play and many more games to win. It’s too early to call them genuine contenders, but it’s never early enough to look at who may be available for them to make a move at the deadline. Let’s dive in!

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    The Needs
    This changes weekly (or even daily) as injuries and ineffectiveness ebbs and flows throughout a season. Even then, every team can get better in any area. The 2019 Astros had a rotation fronted by Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander, the No. 1 and 2 finishers in Cy Young voting. That didn’t stop them from trading with Arizona for Zack Greinke, who had pitched to a 2.90 ERA in 146 innings for the Diamondbacks. You can *always* get better. Knowing this, here are the needs I’ve identified for the 2022 Twins. 

    1. Frontline starter
    Nothing has changed here. As well as Twins starters have fared, they could use another frontline starter to pair with Sonny Gray and Joe Ryan. This starter doesn’t necessarily have to cost a ton, nor do they have to be team-controlled beyond this season. 

    Enter Nathan Eovaldi:
    The Red Sox are off to a plodding start. The rotation has been shaky, the bullpen shakier, and the looming threat of Xander Bogaerts’ impending free agency is hovering above it all. Not only is Bogaerts likely to opt out of his contract, their No. 1 starter, Nathan Eovaldi, is nearing the end of his four-year, $68 million contract. Eovaldi, 32, is emerging as a prime trade candidate as the Red Sox fall behind in a tough division. The American League East is a gauntlet, and someone has to finish fourth. 

    Eovaldi has coughed up an MLB-leading 14 home runs in eight starts, including five in the 2nd inning of Tuesday’s loss to the Astros. It’s been a rough go, but one need not look far to find the appeal in the right-hander. He pairs an upper-90s fastball with a slider that produced a 35% whiff rate last season. His 2.95 FIP led the American League in 2021. Eovaldi is coming off two career years in one of the harshest pitching environments in baseball and he struck out eight Yankees in five-plus innings of one-run ball in the Wild Card Game. 

    The Red Sox owe Eovaldi $17 million this summer, so any team he joins will take on the remaining salary (~$9 million at the deadline). The performances of both the Red Sox and Eovaldi over the next two months will dictate his trade value, but it’s hard to imagine him costing more than a few mid-level prospects. Eovaldi is a viable game one starter if he’s right and at least a mid-rotation starter if he’s who he was before 2021. 

    Other Red Sox to watch: DH/OF J.D. Martinez: another impending free agent who continues to produce. Imagine a lineup with righties Byron Buxton, Carlos Correa, and Martinez, flanked by Jorge Polanco, Luis Arraez, and a revamped Max Kepler. Sheesh. 

    2. High-leverage reliever
    Jhoan Duran has fully embraced his role in the bullpen and is currently must-watch TV. He’s a legitimate weapon, but who else back there is? Emilio Pagán, while posting solid numbers, continues to tightrope trouble. Griffin Jax is an exciting development, but his command is spotty enough to wonder if he could handle high-leverage situations. The Twins could use a high-octane, late-inning option. 

    Let me introduce Jorge López, who you may remember from the rival Royals. López posted a 6.42 ERA in 158 ⅓ innings as a hybrid starter in Kansas City. The stuff has always been there for the Puerto Rican, and now he’s finally settled into a late-inning role for the Orioles. López, 29, averages 98 MPH with a turbo sinker, and opponents are having serious trouble hitting his high-spin curveball. He’s missing barrels and forcing opponents to beat balls straight into the ground. Like most unestablished flamethrowers, López sometimes battles his control. When he’s throwing strikes, López is shutting down both righties and lefties. 

    Acquiring López would require a change in the Twins’ style. They rarely commit to relievers past one year, and they’ve never broken the bank for one via trade. López is under team control through 2024, so a trading team would essentially get 2.5 years of his services. López and Duran would give the Twins two fire-breathing right-handers, with Jax, Pagán, Caleb Thielbar, and Tyler Duffey all moved down in the pecking order. 

    Other Orioles to watch: OF Anthony Santander: an underrated switch-hitter who has learned how to draw more walks. A free agent after the 2024 season, Santander is not a particularly great defensive outfielder, but not a complete butcher. 

    3. A big bat
    The Twins are benefitting from improved depth. Gilberto Celestino has been a pleasant surprise in the outfield, and Gary Sánchez is driving in runs as the backup catcher and part-time DH. Luis Arraez spends his time at first base as Gio Urshela and José Miranda man the hot corner. Oh, and Royce Lewis is simmering at Triple-A. The offense isn’t a weakness, but it could stand to get better. 

    Nationals first baseman Josh Bell could be an excellent fit for the Twins. 

    Bell, 29, traded to Washington in 2020, has been a solid contributor in more ways than one. Bell does a lot of things well. Through Friday, he’s hit .273/.360/.472 (133 OPS+) with 31 homers in 182 games for the Nats. He’s a switch-hitter who rakes from the left side. He’s a serviceable right-handed hitter, but Bell’s main utility for the Twins would be against right-handed pitchers. Bell has a career .845 OPS as a left-handed hitter, and his 2022 overall expected batting average ranks in the 93rd percentile. 

    Bell is an average defensive first baseman and brings the experience the Twins are looking for at the position. Bell’s career strikeout rate is sub-20%. He hits for average, he hits for power, and he’s one of the more underrated players in baseball. He's an impending free agent, with the Nationals owing him $10 million in his final year of arbitration.

    This is a fun lineup to dream on for the second half:

    1. Byron Buxton, CF
    2. Carlos Correa, SS
    3. Jorge Polanco (S), 2B
    4. Josh Bell (S), 1B
    5. Luis Arraez (L), DH
    6. Royce Lewis, 3B
    7. Max Kepler (L), RF
    8. Ryan Jeffers/Gary Sánchez, C
    9. Trevor Larnach (L), LF

    Other Nationals to watch: DH Nelson Cruz: Cruz could be hitting that 41-year-old sized wall, but his batted-ball data is still excellent. How about one final playoff chase with the Boomstick?

    What do you think about these trade options for the Twins? Comment below!

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    I really like a lot of these options, and with the Twins actually having the depth necessary to facilitate many of these trades I'm really looking forward to seeing who we can snag up.

    I'm particularly interested in Josh Bell. I feel like he fits our mold perfectly and it gives us an opportunity to release Sano and get him off the roster. We need to move on at this point and I feel like Sano and Bell are the same player, Bell just does it more consistently.

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    For 1B I also think Trey Mancini should be considered.  A right handed bat and known as a great club house guy.  He will fit in well with the team. He won’t cost too much prospect capital.  I am think some in the 25-30 range, FV 35+.  It would be great if they could package him with Lopez, but I think that will cost a prospect in our top 10 with his remaining team control.  Maybe trading Canterino and someone outside the top 30.  Or maybe Steer (we have a log jam of 2B/3B prospects) and a lesser pitching prospect such as Steven Cruz or Gipson-Long.

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    Good read. Always good to see different slants/views. 

    Not sure I agree all the way, but who does? Twins fans are no different than those fans of their local teams.

    Not sure I feel the Twins need a big bat. We have guys that can be the big bat through most of the lineup when they get in the HR groove. But a big bat does not necessarily mean the HR. We have various clutch hitters capable of bringing in runs. Polanco, Sanchez, Correa, Buxton, Arraez and here and there Kepler chime in. The cool thing is the depth and re-emergence of small ball which gives us run support for our blooming pitching (who would have thought)!

    We need someone other than Perez, (who scares the heck out of me), and Joe Smith would be fun to see being given a try. The simple fact is we lost a great guy in T. Rogers. I think there is some truth to the relief thought.

    Arraez is interesting at first with the wonderful side of hitting everything thrown his way. He is a tru hitting machine! Sano should not enter into our picture and the Twins would be smart to see if someone wishes to give him a new home.

    So far the variety of starting pitching has managed well, but it is a quilt of sorts. Too bad Pineda is gone as he was an anchor type that always gave 5-7 innings and never got freaked out. I believe the Saints may have some help for us there or mid-season trades if we still are in the hunt. 

    Fun thoughts all supporting our Twins team. GO TWINS!

     

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    The only one I'd consider is Lopez. Eovaldi is plodding along this year just like the Boston team as a whole and Bell would take playing time away from Arraez. I think the Twins and their thick skulled Manager have finally started to figure out that you need to manufacture runs instead of trying to win every game with the long ball. I like Arraez at 1B. He hasn't shown me anything yet that proves he can't play the position and everyone knows his bat needs to be in the lineup every day. Unlike Sano he gets on base and produces runs almost every day. I for one do not miss the rally killer and strikeout king Sano. Trade him for a bag of peanuts or DFA him. The team has proven it can win without him. He was costing the Twins more than just his $9M in salary, he was costing them wins.

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    I like the Eovaldi as an option if he came relatively cheap.  Lopez.....not so much.  19 innings of work this year ......is not enough to override the last 6 years of being a terrible pitcher in my book.

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    We need a true veteran ace at top of rotation. Maybe someone even better than evoldi. We would have to use better prospects to get one. Off limits would be lewis and Austin. Also need one more b.p. arm. Josh Bell is a yes . I've thought he would have been a good target even before the season.

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    On second thought, I don’t think they would need to give up nearly as much for Mancini and Lopez.  I think for reliever the front officer would look for a saavy vet type in the mold of Romo, Clippard or Joe Smith.  Ian Kennedy maybe a decent option.  They could use another left handed in the pen. Maybe AJ Puk or Matt Strahm.

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    1 hour ago, rv78 said:

    The only one I'd consider is Lopez. Eovaldi is plodding along this year just like the Boston team as a whole and Bell would take playing time away from Arraez. I think the Twins and their thick skulled Manager have finally started to figure out that you need to manufacture runs instead of trying to win every game with the long ball. I like Arraez at 1B. He hasn't shown me anything yet that proves he can't play the position and everyone knows his bat needs to be in the lineup every day. Unlike Sano he gets on base and produces runs almost every day. I for one do not miss the rally killer and strikeout king Sano. Trade him for a bag of peanuts or DFA him. The team has proven it can win without him. He was costing the Twins more than just his $9M in salary, he was costing them wins.

    Agreed about Sano, no surprise the team is playing so well in his absence. Also agree about Jorge Lopez, he would be a great back end reliever. Arraez has made some pretty sweet picks at first base on semi-errant throws from the left side of the infield but people don't seem to realize that. 

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    14 minutes ago, rwilfong86 said:

    Agreed about Sano, no surprise the team is playing so well in his absence. Also agree about Jorge Lopez, he would be a great back end reliever. Arraez has made some pretty sweet picks at first base on semi-errant throws from the left side of the infield but people don't seem to realize that. 

    People "don't seem to realize that" because so many at Twins Daily think that 1B is a throw away position.  By that I mean they think any knucklehead can be put at first base because it is soooo easy.  I spent many years playing first base and I can testify (can I get an amen!!!) that the footwork can be complicated (and no one uses the proper technique any more - a topic for another time).  A good defensive 1B can save a lot of errors.

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    We traded Rogers because he had only one year left, why would we trade for three months of a struggling Eovaldi?  Makes no sense to me.  Between St Paul and Mpls we have enough bats to make it work this year without getting Bell.  Lopez has not been so good that we could not bring up Canterino and Moran to cover the BP.  

    Trade - NO.

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    Some good comments but you missed on Larnach. He has No Clue on how to play an outfield wall and scouting reports have made him suspect at the plate. Put Lewis out there NOW.

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    It is too early to draw any final conclusions, but as of today, I think the biggest need is for starting pitching as I am not confident that Bundy and Archer are going to be dependable starters who can go 5-6 innings on a regular basis.  I think they need to replace Paddack.  Eovaldi hasn't shown anything this season, so I would be hesitant to go after him unless he straightens things out between now and the deadline.  I like Josh Bell, so IF Kirilloff is not healthy by the deadline, I would at least explore that as an option assuming it doesn't detract from Arraez's at bats.  It all depends on how the offense is doing and if anyone is injured.  The bullpen is looking good but they are making way too many appearances and pitching way too many innings, so I could see them starting to falter without additional help.  There may be some guys in the minors that could help by the deadline, but adding a quality at the deadline may be a good idea.  

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    I think Eovaldi is an intriguing target, and I don't think the Twins front office should waive the white flag on a Frankie Montas trade. I also think reuniting with C.J. Cron is worth considering. Cron has been outstanding in the Mile High City, and would have 1.5 years of control left at the deadline. 

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    1 hour ago, heresthething said:

    I think the move that's coming is what do they get for CC at the deadline.  The Royce demotion so he can play shortstop full time with the Saints basically shows what they're intending.  

    Except Lewis is specifically playing other positions currently in St Paul. That was specifically mentioned when he was sent down, and he's played both 3rd and LF since then.

    Not to mention, if in contention, there's no way they trade Correa. No chance. None. 

     

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    1 hour ago, heresthething said:

    I think the move that's coming is what do they get for CC at the deadline.  The Royce demotion so he can play shortstop full time with the Saints basically shows what they're intending.  

    I disagree. CC is needed to help the Twinkies to win the AL Central.  Keeping CC sends a powerful message to the rest of the team, which is: "Win now!". 

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    1 hour ago, heresthething said:

    I think the move that's coming is what do they get for CC at the deadline.  The Royce demotion so he can play shortstop full time with the Saints basically shows what they're intending.  

    Not how this works.

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    1 hour ago, terrydactyls said:

    People "don't seem to realize that" because so many at Twins Daily think that 1B is a throw away position.  By that I mean they think any knucklehead can be put at first base because it is soooo easy.  I spent many years playing first base and I can testify (can I get an amen!!!) that the footwork can be complicated (and no one uses the proper technique any more - a topic for another time).  A good defensive 1B can save a lot of errors.

    I will say Amen to that!

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    32 minutes ago, Ben Reimler said:

    I think Eovaldi is an intriguing target, and I don't think the Twins front office should waive the white flag on a Frankie Montas trade. I also think reuniting with C.J. Cron is worth considering. Cron has been outstanding in the Mile High City, and would have 1.5 years of control left at the deadline. 

    I was hoping I wouldn't have to be the only one lobbying for Cron.  A decent defensive first baseman and has some pop.  I know they talk about Denver's air and all, but he hit what, 25 home runs when he played for us in Target Field?  He just might be a nice addition at a decent price.  

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    I agree the 'pen is likely to need help; Duffey and Thielbar and Stashak have had nice recovery periods, but Tyler and Caleb have looked less than lockdown in most recent outings, and Stashak is pitching with reduced velocity that probably doesn't work against better teams.  And we'd all eat fewer Tums if Pagan wasn't the main closer. But I'm guessing the Twins will find that help in their system rather than by trade. Moran, Canterino, Smeltzer, Cotton, and more all either bring shutdown ability or length, and don't cost anything more than a call up.

    A frontline starter would be great, and I like your target! I'd even pitch that to the Red Sox BEFORE Eovaldi straightens out to lower the cost (if he goes back to lights-out-98-mph-stuff, the cost even of a rental skyrockets at the deadline). Maybe we could pry him loose with a Strotman/Sands/Cotton package since they need help in the rotation and 'pen.

    I'd rate the batting need lower than pitching, but if you could wave a Sands/Cotton/Sano package at Boston for Martinez, I could live with that.

    For sure, I'm hoping trades not only add, but clear some of the plateauing prospects off the 40-man. The Twins finally made the needed Vallimont DFA, but they'll need more space this year, and into the offseason to use and protect real assets.

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    1 hour ago, USAFChief said:

    Except Lewis is specifically playing other positions currently in St Paul. That was specifically mentioned when he was sent down, and he's played both 3rd and LF since then.

    Not to mention, if in contention, there's no way they trade Correa. No chance. None. 

     

    Look at this through the lens of what they could get for CC.  Do I want it?  Of course not, I would love it if they signed him longer term.  But this is not a WS team, they don't have the pitching for it.  Assuming CC is healthy and playing well they will get a haul from a team in the mix for the playoffs and think they are a CC away from it.  The Cruz for Ryan trade shows what the floor is.  The fact that he's playing other positions doesn't take away from where they want him to play.

    For an interesting perspective on the FO strategy on to building a sustainable winning team find an article by John Foley on one of the other Twins fan sites.  

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    5 hours ago, TeJayDubz said:

    I really like a lot of these options, and with the Twins actually having the depth necessary to facilitate many of these trades I'm really looking forward to seeing who we can snag up.

    I'm particularly interested in Josh Bell. I feel like he fits our mold perfectly and it gives us an opportunity to release Sano and get him off the roster. We need to move on at this point and I feel like Sano and Bell are the same player, Bell just does it more consistently.

    Why give up something to get the same player you already have?  Except Bell's NOT the same player.  The difference is not huge but the edge does go to Sano.  The only edge that Bell has is that, as of today, he's healthier.

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    1 hour ago, USAFChief said:

    Not to mention, if in contention, there's no way they trade Correa. No chance. None. 

    I hope you are right. Seems like you said something equally definitive about the Twins trading Rogers.

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    I don't like any of these. Bell would take away playing time from Arraez. We need an established closer that has control not another Pagan. I don't see Eovaldi as much better than what we have. If we are going for a SP, I'd go after some one like Montas.

    I'd like things to settle 1st before we actually start thinking about trade options. But you can't go wrong with a Montas or a Rogers when we start thinking about competing in the post season.

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    I believe this piece perfectly points out this team's weaknesses. If/when the Twins hit a rough patch, it'll either be because pitching has returned to the mean (no true #1), the lack of a consistent clutch-hitter/ RBI producer, or injuries are piling up. My clutch hitter definition relates specifically to RBI production in close games with the team trailing. In these games, it's more about hope than expectation no matter who we send to the plate. The Houston series showed without question the gap in talent between us and AL elite so a few choice additions would help. 

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