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  • Here are Three Creative Trade Options to Bolster the Twins Rotation


    Cody Pirkl

    The Twins may very well need an ace to feel good about competing in 2022, but they need quality innings as a baseline above all else. There are several interesting options that may be on the trade market that the team could check in on when the offseason resumes.

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    There is no question that the Twins will need to make some additions to their starting staff when the offseason comes back, whenever that is. Many of the top free agent starting pitchers are no longer available. The Twins did sign Dylan Bundy to team with Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan in the rotation, but clearly they will add more. They may need to do so with some creative trades. Here are three such options that the Twins might consider. 

    Kyle Freeland
    Freeland has been a serviceable pitcher throughout his career which is an impressive statement to make considering he’s spent five seasons in Colorado. Freeland owns a career 4.20 ERA which is a fair baseline of what to expect from the southpaw moving forward. He flew under the radar posting a 4.33 ERA in 2021 with 120 innings pitched and had peripherals to match. Even if he doesn’t get a bump from moving out of the worst pitching environment in baseball, Freeland would already slot in nicely as the Twins #3 in the rotation for a bargain in regards to payroll.

    At 29 years old, Freeland is due $7m in 2022 with another year of control in 2023. For the Rockies who have no shot at contending in the next two years, this is the exact type of player that should be shopped to get a hold of any type of young talent that could be a part of their next contending window while relieving some payroll. The Twins could easily put together a trade package consisting of young players far from the top of their prospect rankings. It may just be a matter of whether the Rockies front office comes to their senses and gets realistic about their future.

    Luke Weaver
    Much like Freeland, Weaver would be a multi-year acquisition. The 28-year-old right-hander has had an up-and-down career in terms of performance and health. The former first round pick sports a 4.64 career ERA and has averaged over a strikeout per inning in his six seasons. In those seasons, however, Weaver has eclipsed 65 innings only once and that was in 2018. For the right price, the upside could be worth the gamble. With a fastball averaging around 94 mph, a wipeout changeup, and 60-grade command, finding a way to work a full season out of Luke Weaver could have a huge payoff.

    The Diamondbacks are likely a bit more realistic than their division mates in Colorado, although it’s worth noting that Weaver is only due $2.4m in 2022. They have some nice pieces but don’t quite have a clear cut core in place to build around. Given Weaver’s injuries and contract status, they may see more upside in taking a few prospects that fit their timeline than gambling on Weaver and potentially losing. Like Freeland, there’s likely a prospect package that makes sense for both teams.

    Jake Odorizzi
    Despite his 4.21 ERA in 100+ innings last year, Jake Odorizzi may not have a rotation spot in Houston given their depth of young starting pitching. I can’t blame anyone who wants to turn the page on the Twins teams of the last three Twins seasons, but this former Twin fits right into the next steps of this organization. Odorizzi has shown plenty of signs of being the same pitcher he has been during his whole career. Vintage Jake Odorizzi would go a long way in shoring up a currently rookie-led rotation and provide some much-needed innings.

    Signed to fill in for an injured Framber Valdez last spring, Odorizzi is set to make a $3.0 million signing bonus and $5.0 million in base salary for 2022. He gets half a million for 100 innings and an extra million for 110, 120, 130, 140 and 150 innings pitched. In 2023, he’s due $6.5 million with a $3.25 million buyout. His stuff would likely play up in a bullpen role in Houston, but it’s likely to cause some waves with a pitcher who wants to start and may have already ruffled some feathers in the organization. It may just be mutually beneficial for all parties. The Astros save some money, the Twins add an arm, and Odorizzi gets to start. It seems like a match made in heaven.

    People’s interest in bona fide stud pitchers is understandable, but the Twins need quantity just as much as quality. Are there any middle of the rotation arms you’d like to see the Twins pick up before Spring Training?

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    Albers  isn’t available; anymore?

    Any of these pitchers wouldn’t cost more than a Placios kind of player so why not. Only Houston has an excess of pitching and the Twins moved on from Odorizzi for a reason. The other 2 teams  would need good reasons to trade. A low level prospect isn’t going to work even if the teams were trying to tank. 

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    If, as you say, "the Twins need quantity just as much as they need quality", why not make all 3 trades?  We have the prospect pool to pull it off if, as you say, the teams feel a lower level price would suffice. 

    Personally, I have never been a quantity over quality guy (see the Vikes trading down to stockpile more draft choices, even if they are lower), but in this case we can only have the one, so let's go for it.  I fear, however, the FO isn't in the trade mode right now, but I am more than ready to be wrong. 

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    Good conversation piece, Cody.  I would be interested in these options IF the Twins had signed a significant free agent and were looking to fill out the rotation.  But as it stands, I don't think any of them would move the needle.  As with all trades, it depends on what it costs to acquire someone, but frankly I think Pineda may bring as much to the table as these three in my humble opinion.

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    No No, No.  Odorizzi was not even trusted enough to take the post season mound when the Astros needed a starter.  How many pitcher leave the horror of Rockies stadium and then perform well elsewhere?   If this is as high as we are reaching start the Duran/Balazovic/Winder/Sands/Jax/Dobnak/Canterino/Richardson/Strotman merry-go-round and let's see what we have.

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    I still think Pineda is the best fit. Last I heard he wanted to stay with the twins, yet I heard nothing about any talks with him before the shutdown. Of the 3 listed above, I could see taking a chance on Odo, depending on his health. He had personal issues in houston from what I've heard and read and that was never something that was talked about here. 

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    1 hour ago, Mark G said:

    If, as you say, "the Twins need quantity just as much as they need quality", why not make all 3 trades?  We have the prospect pool to pull it off if, as you say, the teams feel a lower level price would suffice. 

    Personally, I have never been a quantity over quality guy (see the Vikes trading down to stockpile more draft choices, even if they are lower), but in this case we can only have the one, so let's go for it.  I fear, however, the FO isn't in the trade mode right now, but I am more than ready to be wrong. 

    Very poor analogy with the football draft, After a certain point you are drafting lottery tickets. The more you have, the better the odds. This is trading for league average or worse starters. Two very completely different things. You would not go with quantity. They are who they are for players. They are not going to morph into an front line starter

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    Well, to rely on Ober, Ryan, and Bundy is madness. All if them could easily go down with injury or blow up, making the 2021 Twins look pitching-rich by comparison. Stockpiling arms makes plenty of sense.

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    The twins pattern is to wait for a mid tier pitcher to slip through the early round of free agency and then circle him like a shark trying to sign him to a one year deal. To be honest, anything but a top of the order picture is waited money. I would prefer to go with our three starters and then team up our young starters in the other two starts. 

    It would entail each going no more than 3 or 4 innings and rely on the pen to finish up the last 2 or 3 innings. It actually would be fewer innings than the typical 4 that the relief picture's pitch now but would need to be because you would be filling two relief spots with short starters.

    It's not as bad as it seems as many weeks (especially) in the early season  the 5th starter never pitches. The other advantage is in the case of double hitters you could make one of them a starter and ask him to pitch five innings or more if he is having a good game.

    I really don't want us to add an average starter or two and eat up all the innings our young guys could be throwing. I only say this because we are stacked with young starting pitchers knocking on the door. 

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    I’m feeling the Padres have a couple of potential pitchers within Twins budget range Paddock. &  Clevinger . There is some risk with Clevinger  coming off TJ surgery & may be July of 22 before he makes the mlb. Paddock  had a down year & he is young. The Twins could trade Larnach & Vallimont. Clevinger is 30 yrs. old, FA in 23, salary $6m. Paddock is 26 yrs. old, FA in 24, salary $2m. The Padres may be interested in this trade as the Padres are near about $20m from the luxury tax line.  

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    The Twins need to identify guys like Freeland and Weaver and then up their game. I couldn’t possibly know whether either of these two has untapped potential and wish I had more confidence in the Twins ability to make that assessment.

    I do think these are the kinds of moves small to mid market teams need to make and win on, The Twins certainly can afford to trade from their prospect depth to acquire either or both.

    Odorizzi had two good seasons with the Twins and should certainly be considered for a marginal minor leaguer that will soon be a 40 man roster decision.  The contract is not prohibitive. A Pineda signing would be a similar move,

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    And Old fox, the Padres also have young LHP's like Gore and Weathers.  If the Twins made an offer, one way to plug another hole in the lineup and lower the cost would be to take on the salary of Wil Myers in a deal.  Myers would be the Twins LF'er and middle of the lineup hitter.  The Padres appear to be very motivated to clear the salaries of Myers and especially Eric Hosmer.  Once the lockout ends, I'd call 'em up.  

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    The suggestions for additions to the team are always interesting to read. My underlying question concerns the real payroll for 2022. A payroll of $135 million leaves the Twins with about $45+ million to allocate. This leaves room for trades and free agents. However, a final payroll of $90-100 million is certainly plausible. A budget below $110 million limits both trade opportunities and free agent additions. It would be interesting to see what the rosters of people here on TD put together for $100 million. The payroll question goes with the expectations for the 2022 season. It seems that trades, including the pitchers suggested in this post, are subject to the payroll and expectations for next season as currently being planned out by Falvey.

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    This article is so dispiriting...like many Twins fans I'm completely fed up with Falvey/Levine bottom feeding for a starting rotation.  We will need to trade for front line starters, but it should be for a couple Maeda-level starters and will necessitate giving up Brustar-level talent.  Stop with the Shoemakers and Happy, already!!

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    38 minutes ago, Omardog said:

    This article is so dispiriting...like many Twins fans I'm completely fed up with Falvey/Levine bottom feeding for a starting rotation.  We will need to trade for front line starters, but it should be for a couple Maeda-level starters and will necessitate giving up Brustar-level talent.  Stop with the Shoemakers and Happy, already!!

    Happ pitched well for St. Louis, I think a new coach is as important as new pitchers.

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    Sorry, but I don’t think I’m the only one who couldn’t care less if the Twins won 75 games or 55 games. These guys do nothing to win the club a World Series. If all the team is willing to do is make extremely minimal effort improvements, it’s better to make no improvements at all. I’d rather hold onto he trade equity and give more innings and experience to the prospects.

    When the best adjective for a free agent is “serviceable” keep walking.

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    I'd suggest trading A.J. Pierzynski for Luke Weaver and some lottery picks. 

    Point being, Weaver has only gotten past 66 innings only once. It's tough to think of him as a full-time starter. (In his defense, he started 12 games in a 60-game season in 2020, so he was on pace for way beyond that.)

    But his stuff can be nasty. In my mind, he's a Joe Nathan candidate. Trade for him, teach him to the pbtbtbtbtbt thing, and add him to the bullpen. 

     

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    Assuming there is anything close to a full season of games played...and hopefully a full 162...the Twins need GS and IP. Adding to the rotation is basically a necessity. And one way or another, it's going to happen. The problem is, we aren't really sure what the plan is the FO has in mind. Other than some rumors about kicking the tires on Gray, and despite this FO always playing things close to the vest, they clearly were out on the FA SP market this year. Now, they could absolutely blow us away and surprise us and sign Rodon, even to a 1yr, and then sign or trade for someone else help fill in the front of the rotation behind him. I'm not expecting that, but I've been surprised by many of their signings in the past, including Donaldson. So you can never say never with our FO.

    But the issue/problem as I see it, why would they trade for a guy or two, and give up prospects they've worked so hard to draft and trade for, for a couple short term deals of 1 or 2yrs? They could have spent $, kept all their prospects, and still not exceeded 3 or 4yr deals for a number of the FA they passed on.

    Again, the FO could totally surprise us. They have before. But from the outside looking in it sure appears they are looking to promote/audition/roll through a number of young arms in 2022 to build for the future, while looking for BP pieces that have options and relying on an offense that could/should be potent to "compete".  (Debate all you want to about being competitive in this scenario, that's not the point I'm addressing directly at the moment).

    Cody, I appreciate your work and speculation here, but Oddo is the only guy that makes sense here, IMO. He makes sense because he's familiar to the Twins, and vice versa, has had a solid career that is "proven", and could probably be obtained on the cheap from a Houston team where he doesn't seem to "fit". But the others? I just don't see it.

    Why not keep your prospects and re-sign Pineda? He's an almost lock for 25-26 GS and 130IP. Tyler Anderson and Kikuchi are LH options that only cost a little $, no prospects, and each pitched over 100 innings in 2021. Kikuchi in particular intrigues me because it seems he hasn't performed yet to what his stuff says should play. How about a 1+1 for a "young-ish" LH that might take another step with a different organization and a different staff?

    If we're trying to build something, and we aren't going to make major FA signings or major trades because we have so many young arms with potential we need to start seeing and working with, then just re-sign Pineda and sign Kikuchi to go along with Bundy, Ober, Ryan, Dobnak, Winder, Strotman, Balazovic and Sands and add a couple interesting or proven arms for the pen and run with a collection of #3 arms and tons of depth and a deep pen and quality lineup and try to compete in 2022...which COULD happen...and build for 2023.

    Your finances are FINE in 2023 and beyond to add and make moves. But just don't give up young talent to add to the staff where just $ can add as good or better while you re-tooling said staff.

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    13 hours ago, old nurse said:

    Albers  isn’t available; anymore?

    Any of these pitchers wouldn’t cost more than a Placios kind of player so why not. Only Houston has an excess of pitching and the Twins moved on from Odorizzi for a reason. The other 2 teams  would need good reasons to trade. A low level prospect isn’t going to work even if the teams were trying to tank. 

    Trade Palacios for Odorizzi...again!

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    17 hours ago, old nurse said:

    Very poor analogy with the football draft, After a certain point you are drafting lottery tickets. The more you have, the better the odds. This is trading for league average or worse starters. Two very completely different things. You would not go with quantity. They are who they are for players. They are not going to morph into an front line starter

    I thought the analogy was quite apropo.   I was simply using an example of quantity vs quality in the sense that, as you said, the more you have the better the odds.  I have never been a believer in that thought process; I have always thought you should get fewer but better players rather than take the gamble lesser prospects will pan out.  I would rather draft higher and fewer than lower and more.  In the case of this article, I was only saying that if I couldn't have that, but could only have the quantity side, then go for quantity by picking up all of them instead of only one.  I also qualified the thought by going with the articles premise that the price for each would be reasonable; if it isn't, you walk away.  Low price trades for pitchers we would have 2 or more years of control over might be the best scenario in the short term.  This organization has proven they will not outbid others, whether it be via trade or free agency, so quantity is the next best thing.  Wasn't that Cody's premise in his article? 

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    3 hours ago, Mark G said:

    I thought the analogy was quite apropo.   I was simply using an example of quantity vs quality in the sense that, as you said, the more you have the better the odds.  I have never been a believer in that thought process; I have always thought you should get fewer but better players rather than take the gamble lesser prospects will pan out.  I would rather draft higher and fewer than lower and more.  In the case of this article, I was only saying that if I couldn't have that, but could only have the quantity side, then go for quantity by picking up all of them instead of only one.  I also qualified the thought by going with the articles premise that the price for each would be reasonable; if it isn't, you walk away.  Low price trades for pitchers we would have 2 or more years of control over might be the best scenario in the short term.  This organization has proven they will not outbid others, whether it be via trade or free agency, so quantity is the next best thing.  Wasn't that Cody's premise in his article? 

    Try reading up on NFL draft success. Outside of QB which shows a slim success rate for starters after the first round, more is better. The thing is is that these players are nor prospects. They are what they are, which is a little less than league average  pitcher

    This is an analytic driven FO. The numbers will tell you of likely outcomes.  That is what there is the actions or inaction that you see from this front office

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    4 hours ago, Mark G said:

    I thought the analogy was quite apropo.   I was simply using an example of quantity vs quality in the sense that, as you said, the more you have the better the odds.  I have never been a believer in that thought process; I have always thought you should get fewer but better players rather than take the gamble lesser prospects will pan out.  I would rather draft higher and fewer than lower and more.  In the case of this article, I was only saying that if I couldn't have that, but could only have the quantity side, then go for quantity by picking up all of them instead of only one.  I also qualified the thought by going with the articles premise that the price for each would be reasonable; if it isn't, you walk away.  Low price trades for pitchers we would have 2 or more years of control over might be the best scenario in the short term.  This organization has proven they will not outbid others, whether it be via trade or free agency, so quantity is the next best thing.  Wasn't that Cody's premise in his article? 

    The issue is not your analogy.  The issue is how you have defined the problem.  The Twins need to build an entire staff including a couple front of the rotation types if we are to have a reasonable shot at reaching the playoffs and then having a shot at post season success.  Signing 3 back of the rotation SPs when you don’t have any front of the rotation SPs is a really bad plan.  One, we will be bad.  Two, we will assure this mediocrity continues by minimizing the opportunity to develop the numerous pitching prospects that are ready or will be throughout the course of 2022.  

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    I keep looking at the Padres as a good match for the Twins as a trade partner. paddock and abrams would fill two of the twins biggest needs. In order to get the Padres to part with Those two  I would expect the Twins would have to take on Hosmers contract. Why not Hosmer, Paddack and abrams for Sano, Martin and one of our 20-30 ranking pitchers. Maybe I’m way off on value but would solve issues for both teams  and between Lewis and Abrams one should stick at SS

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    On 1/15/2022 at 9:44 AM, mikelink45 said:

    No No, No.  Odorizzi was not even trusted enough to take the post season mound when the Astros needed a starter.  How many pitcher leave the horror of Rockies stadium and then perform well elsewhere?   If this is as high as we are reaching start the Duran/Balazovic/Winder/Sands/Jax/Dobnak/Canterino/Richardson/Strotman merry-go-round and let's see what we have.

    I agree with Mike. If predicting which prospects will succeed is as difficult as  ranking the order of the Twins top  10 pitching prospects (which Seth discussed at length in some of his replies to our comments to his recent  excellent Twins  pitching prospect ranking), meaning any of them could succeed beyond our wildest dreams,  why not forget the older slightly below mediocre, pitchers and just see which of the existing  "quantity " of prospects will be the next "Ace" for the Twins. Will it be Ryan, Canterino, Duran, Balazovic, Winder, Petty, etc.?  Thanks to the FO intentionally signing and trading for,  young flame throwers,  the Twins do have the best "quantity" of "quality" prospect  pitchers that I can ever  remember. 

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    I would let the Padres choke on Hosmer's contract.  For the right pitcher from the Padres, and to hold down what we would have to give, I might be willing to take on the final year of Wil Myers.  Otherwise, I focus on dealing with Oakland.  They are in a serious salary dump situation.  That can be leveraged at the trading table to acquire one or more of their pitchers (Manaea, Bassitt, Montas) with the return cost held down by taking on player salary off Oakland's hands.  Why not start the discussion with Oakland sending over: Montas, Andrus and Piscotty?  If Andrus will agree to a trade WITHOUT the Twins exercising his 2023 option, just release him in 2022 BEFORE he collects 550 plate appearances and  replace him with Lewis or Gordon to finish out the year.  Also think about asking for A J Puk (home town boy & LHP) coming from Oakland.....

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    I'm vehemently opposed to this line of thinking. The Twins have 2-3 back end guys slated for the rotation already. Bundy, Ober and Ryan. We only have 2 rotation openings at the top of the rotation. We have no space for middle/back end arms. We also have spot start, emergency depth guys like Strotman, Dobnak and Jax.

    Back end guys do nothing but block prospects who are likely better than the guys proposed above.

    • Winder - Floor #4. Ceiling #1. ETA Opening 2022
    • Woods-Richardson - Floor #5. Ceiling #2. ETA late 2022
    • Canterino - Floor #4. Ceiling #2. ETA 2023
    • Balazovic - Floor #5. Ceiling #3. ETA Early 2022
    • Duran - Floor RP. Ceiling #2. ETA Late 2022.

    Stockpiling serviceable veterans while our prospects grow gray beards and we lose out on their best years is the Twins' Way, but I would propose the Twins either go for it now and get the top of the rotation arms they need to compete or don't go for it and find out whether they already have everything they need.

    Btw, just since I saw this the other day, Maeda is almost certainly out for all of 2022 at this point as he doesn't expect to potentially return until at least September based on his comments recently in Tokyo, Japan. He wasn't expected to even start catching balls until scheduled Spring Training time.

    https://www.newsdirectory3.com/kenta-maeda-what-are-your-thoughts-on-the-unique-web-of-the-2022-grab-in-the-turtle-shell-full-count/

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    6 hours ago, Major League Ready said:

    The issue is not your analogy.  The issue is how you have defined the problem.  The Twins need to build an entire staff including a couple front of the rotation types if we are to have a reasonable shot at reaching the playoffs and then having a shot at post season success.  Signing 3 back of the rotation SPs when you don’t have any front of the rotation SPs is a really bad plan.  One, we will be bad.  Two, we will assure this mediocrity continues by minimizing the opportunity to develop the numerous pitching prospects that are ready or will be throughout the course of 2022.  

    Wow, I guess I got myself into a firestorm here.  I didn't define anything.  I simply took the premise of the article, which was we needed quantity as much as we needed quality.  Am I missing something here?  Didn't Cody put that right in his article?  I simply said two things:  number one, I don't believe in quantity over quality, I think any team should take the opposite approach.  I also said, if I can only have quantity and not necessarily quality I would go for all of his suggestions instead of just one, assuming the price was reasonable.  Where that came out so wrong is confusing to me, but I will cede to brighter minds than mine.........I guess...........at least this time...........I guess.  :)  

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