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  • Ranking the Twins’ Most Appealing MLB Trade Pieces


    Thiéres Rabelo

    All the impact pitchers available in free agency are now gone and not one of them is headed to the Twin Cities. While getting creative with the remaining options is still on the table, we assume working out trades is the most effective way to go. Let’s take a look at the best Minnesota has to offer.

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    Whereas prospects would be the main part of any deal, the Twins should have a list of MLB talent that they would be willing to include in trade packages. Here’s my rank of current Twins who could be negotiated.

    1) Eddie Rosario

    Despite being loved by a large part of the fanbase, there’s no denying Rosie is the Twins’ top trade asset. Even though I can see a big upside to keeping him, many fans were annoyed with the worsening of his defense and plate discipline last year. Plenty of teams are still in pursuit of a corner outfielder and some of them could provide the Twins with acceptable starting pitching help, like Arizona and Detroit.

    Immediate replacement: Jake Cave has taken advantage of every opportunity he’s had in the majors so far. It makes a lot of sense to give him the everyday job out on the field.

    Potential suitors: Diamondbacks, Tigers, Mets, Cardinals, Reds, Padres, Blue Jays, Royals

    2) Miguel Sanó

    Here’s a move that wouldn’t make a lot of Twins fans happy. Just this week I ran a poll on Twitter and nearly eight out of ten people opposed trading Miggy Smalls. I wouldn’t love to see him getting traded either, but he could generate a huge return. Teams in need of both, first or third basemen (or a designated hitter), could really benefit from acquiring him. Sure, it would be painful to watch him leave, but depending on who the Twins get in exchange, it might be be worth it. Aaron Gleeman and John Bonnes discussed that possibility on their last podcast.

    Immediate replacement: Again, it’s hard to imagine this scenario without knowing if Donaldson will accept the Twins’s offer, but Gonzalez is definitely the next in line to be the everyday third baseman.

    Potential suitors: Rays, Nationals, Braves, Rangers, Brewers, Tigers, Rockies (if they actually trade Nolan Arenado)

    3) Jake Cave

    Exactly like Rosario, Cave could easily cater for a lot of teams' needs in the outfield. Perhaps he wouldn’t generate the same type of return as Rosie would, but put him alongside a couple of decent prospects in the package and you have yourself a pretty good case. Make them say no.

    Immediate replacement: Right now, LaMonte Wade Jr. should be your first choice to become the fourth outfielder, should Cave be traded. But down in the minors the Twins could also turn to Brent Rooker, Luke Raley or even Alex Kirilloff. Marwin Gonzalez can do some work there too.

    Potential suitors: Diamondbacks, Tigers, Mets, Cardinals, Reds, Padres, Blue Jays, Royals

    4) Lewis Thorpe

    Just like Cave, Thorpe probably wouldn’t provide the Twins with the best of returns by himself. If he actually gets dealt, he should be one of the pieces along with a handful of prospects. With a very successful minor league career and already in the majors, Thorpe becomes a very interesting option for teams in need of both rotation or bullpen help. Last week I discussed how he could help the Twins themselves in 2020. It’s a very long shot, but if the Rockies are serious about trading Arenado, Thorpe could be a great part of that package.

    Immediate replacement: Since he’s still not an established member of the Twins rotation, the Twins won’t need to think too much about how to replace him. Devin Smeltzer, Randy Dobnak, Cody Stashak and Sean Poppen are all ready for stepping up, should he be traded.

    Potential suitors: Rockies, Marlins, Cubs, Blue Jays, Angels, Athletics, Astros

    5) Willians Astudillo

    When the Twins signed Alex Avila, they made it clear that “La Tortuga” wouldn’t be Mitch Garver’s substitute. If there’s absolutely zero chance of Garver being moved to first, there’s not much of a point in keeping Astudillo around. Sure, he can put out fires basically in any position, but if you can get a decent package involving him, you shouldn’t say no. At least a couple of teams are in search of a substitute backstop. Astudillo has, at times, played very well in the past, which could indicate he can contribute effectively to a major league team.

    Immediate replacement: on the field, not needed. In our hearts, non-existent.

    Potential suitors: Rockies, Pirates

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    We are going to have to part with at least 1 and likely 2 of our top 5 prospects to get impact SP.

     

    Not trying to be pessimistic....that is just reality

     

    Sano is the only one in the group that will move the needle of any SP trade.

     

    But again, he is more "win now" and teams trading SP usually want top prospects to sell "win later" to their fans.

     

     

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    Appreciate the article and effort. Back to the topic of major league talent they can trade.

     

    I think Arraez might be a sell high. He certainly has never had more value and likely more trade value than anyone in the initial list.

     

    Immediate replacement: Gonzalez, Adrianza, Gordon or pick up a SS and slide over Polanco.

     

    Potential suitors: Appreciate thoughts here. I haven’t done the research other than to look at Fangraphs 2B split and notice that the A’s, Cubs, Red Sox and Reds are in the bottom third.

     

    He is valuable to the Twins for the same reason he is a valuable trade chip. He has 6 years of control and is at the major league minimum. He has shown that he takes quality major league at bats. He might be the piece to get a good pitcher in return.

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    Appreciate the article and effort. Back to the topic of major league talent they can trade.

    I think Arraez might be a sell high. He certainly has never had more value and likely more trade value than anyone in the initial list.

    Immediate replacement: Gonzalez, Adrianza, Gordon or pick up a SS and slide over Polanco.

    Potential suitors: Appreciate thoughts here. I haven’t done the research other than to look at Fangraphs 2B split and notice that the A’s, Cubs, Red Sox and Reds are in the bottom third.

    He is valuable to the Twins for the same reason he is a valuable trade chip. He has 6 years of control and is at the major league minimum. He has shown that he takes quality major league at bats. He might be the piece to get a good pitcher in return.

    I think Arraez is an excellent sell high candidate.   He was great in his breakout year and looked like a legit top of the order MLB bat.  But he is pretty redundant with Polanco going forward and I am not sure I see him developing much power/ maintaining .399 obp/ developing anything more than an average glove.

     

    He is certainly moveable for an arm.

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    Teams that don't expect to contend won't want Rosario, and teams that do expect to contend won't want to give up MLB pitching for him. The best you could hope for is a Denard Span-like package... a minor league starter who is probably a reliever, and a single-A lottery ticket.

    Well stated. That’s why the whole “we will trade for someone” is not nearly as easy as it sounds

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    Could the Twins get Jon Gray and Arenado for all 5 of the above  named Twins? Would you make this trade? I would, if Arenado could  be tied up for 5 years or more. Sano's home runs would really carry well in the mile high atmosphere.

    Jon Gray is very similar to Gibson......and we gave up on Gibson.    Arenado is a stud but is it possible he hit a lot of those home runs because of where he played?     Rockies would do that deal in a heartbeat and the Twin would take a big PASS.

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    I think the Rosario trade is more wishful thinking since he has been listed as a trade candidate since the end of the season and so much is written about his lack of value.  I do not see getting something of real value unless Shelton liked him and the Pirates are willing to shed Archer and his cost.

     

    I do not see the team trading Sano, he has been a fixture in Twins minds since he was a teen. 

     

    If we can get anything for Cave we should do it with all the replacements lined up, but he would have to be paired with someone of much more value to get what we want.

    Astudillo has not value to anyone but the Twins fans who love his legend (me included).  

     

    Arraez is my favorite Twin, but the Dodgers have stated that they need an on base guy this off season - and it will take a team that recognizes that value.  Of course then we would need that too and we got rid of Schoop and I have no faith in Gordon.

     

    Finally I see Marwin listed as the fill in at 3B, 1B, LF and I know that is why we got him, but to be honest I did not think he was that good. OPS plus 94 (down from 146 and 101 the previous two years) and 1.6 WAR.  I do not want him as a position regular. 

     

    By the way our most attractive trade chip is Berrios and that is absolutely off the table, second might still be Buxton.  I know we do not want to trade the BBs, but if we are looking at what is the most attractive - those are the two.  They are followed by Kiriloff and Lewis, and Graterol. 

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    Jon Gray is very similar to Gibson......and we gave up on Gibson.    Arenado is a stud but is it possible he hit a lot of those home runs because of where he played?     Rockies would do that deal in a heartbeat and the Twin would take a big PASS.

     

    How is Jon Gray like Gibson? Gray is 28, Gibson 32. Gray has an ERA+ over 130 in 2 of the last 3 years, has only had one year below 100 after his short first season in MLB (where he only played 9 games) and has a career average ERA+ of 110.

     

    Gibson has never had an ERA+ of 130. Gibson has never had an ERA+ of 120. Gibson has only had an ERA+ over 100 in 2 seasons in his career. About the only thing Gibson has ever done better than Gray is pitch more innings in a season...which might have more to do with Gray having to pitch in Colorado than anything else.

     

    Gray is a terrific trade target and I'd love to grab him. He profiles a lot like Berrios and would improve the top of the rotation significantly.

     

    But the reality is a trade is more likely to be done with minor league assets over MLB ones. Sano has more trade value than Rosario; he's a better hitter at a better price, could slot in at 3B/1B/DH and be a force in almost any team's lineup. Rosario's trade value is closer to Cave's (Rosario is more proven, with more power; Cave is cheaper, probably a bit better defensively). You don't give either away, but neither is the centerpiece for a  trade for a top line MLB pitcher. Thorpe is really hard to value right now: maybe he's a mid-rotation starter, maybe he's a guy who needs to re-tool and end up in the bullpen. No one knows yet, though I think he's more to the first than the latter. He's got a lot of value right now...but he's also the most likely internal candidate ready to fill in the rotation NOW. So he's not a good trade chip in a lot of ways.

     

    The best trade assets the Twins have in MLB are actually Max Kepler, Jorge Polanco, Mitch Garver, and Luis Arraez...but these are in the Twins core and unlikely to be dealt for anything. (Buxton is probably ahead of Garver but his injury history means he's more tradeable) 

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    I like a Story and Gray deal better with the Rockies especially if we could get Donaldson. (I would prefer to have Aranado over Donaldson but I don't believe that the Twins are willing to swallow that contract). So here's how I would go about swinging a deal for Story and Gray. The Cubs are willing to trade their all-star catcher Contreras, and they want to move Baez to SS.So trade Arraez and Thorpe for Contreras. The Rockies need a catcher so flip Contreras and package Contreras, Rosario, and Duran for Story and Gray. This allows the Twins to move Polanco to 2b which greatly improves their middle infield defense with Story at short, and adds a quality starting pitcher. Cave or Kirilloff goes to left to replace Rosario.

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    The realities of baseball:

     

    SUPERSTARS GET BIG BIG MONEY AND CONTRACTS.

     

    Also rans are a dime a dozen. Eddie Rosario. Why trade for a guy you might have for one or two years when you can sign someone for one or two years of equal talent. (see Marlins).

     

    DUMP SALARY. You can get a bargain, so to speak, in a trade when a team needs to move salary. You suddenly look in the longterm crystal ball and see that you can probably add two or three players to your roster, with comparable strengths, to replace that outrageous salary. For that, you might take a few (no number one) prospects, or a trinket another team wishes to move.

     

     

    Trading Depth. Right now, the Twins probably have a glut of outfielders and shortstops as prospects. (No, considering the current state of the rotation, they have no depth in starting piutcher arms). Of course, that could change dramatically if you longterm Buxton AND Rosario. If you do that, you don't need Kirilloff or Larnach or any number of other guys. You have Polanco at shortstop, so what is the fate of Lewis (position move?) but you still have great depth in Gordon, Javier and Keoni. Keoni is the guy who might make the majors. The other two are organizaiontal depth at the moment.

     

    I still feel sad that the Twins opportunity to trade for an impact arm would've ben back in July. They missed out at throwing cash at a roster spot replacement. ure, longterm contracts come with risks. The abckend is that you MIGHT be able to move that contract to another team if the player produces and you don't need them for a competitive run. I still like the idea that you can possibly buy the abckend of a BIG contract these days (like go after Price or perhaps Lester at this point, both contracts that a team would rather shred so the return in prospects may not be hurtful...you can deal from your depth rather than your overall future).

     

    Always interesting to see a name like Cave thrown out. Are teams eyeing him as a longterm replacement in the field? Future riches with the bat? He is a reserve outfielder. Might have a glimmer of greatness (see Grossman with the A's), but I really don't see anyone pursuing him bigtime with a great return. You are trding a 22-25th roster spot player for a similar player...or before you can't option him back a low level prospect.

     

    With the Twins coming off a winning season, I dislike the fact that they will probably end up signing a couple of rebuild guys to the rotation. WHile this may prove successful, it is also jarring when you desire having a guy coming out there on the mound from Day One of the season that is slightly better than average if the stars align correctly or replacement value,  when you want to win games.

     

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    There is nothing that makes sense about sacrificing long term resources, money or players, for short term gain for an organization like the Twins and the market they are in. I hate to break it to everyone but this team is 6 months away from embarking on a “mini rebuild”. Cruz, Odorizzi, Gonzalez, Rosario, Romo, Clippard, and even Pineda will all be able to catch valuable return in July. It makes way more sense for them to do that and double down on talent that is under team control for the coming years.

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    There is nothing that makes sense about sacrificing long term resources, money or players, for short term gain for an organization like the Twins and the market they are in. I hate to break it to everyone but this team is 6 months away from embarking on a “mini rebuild”. Cruz, Odorizzi, Gonzalez, Rosario, Romo, Clippard, and even Pineda will all be able to catch valuable return in July. It makes way more sense for them to do that and double down on talent that is under team control for the coming years.

    So never try, also pretend the future is near but never really mean it and if you get a season like 2019, tell the fans that was great but we are building for the future, the future that will never actually come.

    Congrats this is the new way for the MN Twins, and I will never pay for a seat in the Stadium to support this, I will watch on TV or listen on the radio to the team I love, but never really allow my self to go all in, in my heart when I know the team really never as either.

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    Use the financial resources you have to extend Buxton, Sano, Berrios, Rogers, and Duffey TK reasonable contracts that you negotiate with leverage because they are not free agents.

    based on your comment right above this, why would you ever extend anybody?

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    I like a Story and Gray deal better with the Rockies especially if we could get Donaldson. (I would prefer to have Aranado over Donaldson but I don't believe that the Twins are willing to swallow that contract). So here's how I would go about swinging a deal for Story and Gray. The Cubs are willing to trade their all-star catcher Contreras, and they want to move Baez to SS.So trade Arraez and Thorpe for Contreras. The Rockies need a catcher so flip Contreras and package Contreras, Rosario, and Duran for Story and Gray. This allows the Twins to move Polanco to 2b which greatly improves their middle infield defense with Story at short, and adds a quality starting pitcher. Cave or Kirilloff goes to left to replace Rosario.

     

    I really like this trade it took a lot of creativity but I`d like to substitute Arraez w/ Nick Dee & any other prospect to swing this deal. #1 reason is because if we don`t sign Donaldson we could have Arraez to play 3rd.

     

    I also think if we make a play on Chris Archer, it wouldn`t cost too much. I really believe that if he get a change of scenery here & our coaching, he could really explode. Boston if they want to bring down their pay roll, we could get a low cost trade but I`d prefer Sale to Price

     

    This year we lost Steve Gonzales because we couldn`t protect him. Twins recently were not high on him but he was worth something to someone. If we continue to hoard all our possible prospects this problem will continue to get worse

     

     

    Sorry, I meant Nick Gordon- Dee is his brother. We have many infield & outfield prospect that are ready or near major league ready. I`d rather use them than proven players. We don`t have many catching prospects so I`d like to keep Astudillo. He has great up side & fun to watch. Hopefully he can be coached more plate discipline

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    I would also like the Story/Gray deal.  Solves a lot of problems for the Twins.  I don't think you can make a trade to "hopefully" make another trade though (Arraez for Contreras).  You can't count on that.  Three team deals don't happen very often in baseball.  The idea that Gray is a comp for Gibson is laughable.  Come on.  But weather the deal is for Story or Arenado with Gray the deal makes the Twins a MUCH better team.  Story and Arenado are FAR better hitters than Sano.  Gray, at worst, becomes our #2 behind Berrios.  BOTH Arenado and Story make your infield defense much better.  Arenado and Story are Gold Glove 3B and SS.  Moving Polanco to 2B and Arraez to 3B (if we got Story) would go a LONG way toward improving the infield "D."  Sano, LaTortuga, Thorpe work.  Who is the 5th player in the trade?  Maybe Cave.  They don't need Rosario with Dahl & Blackmon.  They need a CF'er. but is Cave better than Tapia ??  Maybe throw another minor league pitcher their way...??   One other note:  The Dodgers may need an on-base type of guy but with Gavin Lux, Max Muncey, Corey Seager and LOTS of other guys, they don't need a 2B/3B type of guy.  I don't trade Arraez.  The Twins NEED a .400 OBP guy at the top of their power laden lineup.  

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    For those that are talking Arenado ... who I also would love to have.... he has a monster contract and can opt out next year... so have to be careful as if you give up the farm to get him and he leaves next year you end up with a Lose/Lose! 

     

    Know everyone is chomping at the bit for a big deal but likely will be something smaller as the roster is pretty well set at this point minus the 4th and 5th starter. There are a ton of guys out there that are low risk high reward type dudes that we likley will take interest in and pick up a few. 

     

    Big deal right now is Donaldson... problem here is he would like to go back to Atlanta and has stated he will give the Braves a chance to meet any offer... 

     

     

     

     

     

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    I am puzzeled with all those names being brought up for pieces of a trade that one name that has never surfaced is Adrianza. I keep thinking that he might have close to the value of Gonzolas or Escobar as a utility man. Granted, he doesn't have the power of an Escobar, but, what would be the results if he were to play 125 games or so?

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    Polanco has value with his extension.  Why not trade him in a Story/Gray trade. Story would give Lewis two years to be ready. Story and Gray would give us a chance to contend the next two years. There would have to be more attached to Polanco to even up the trade but I think the Rockies would love to have that contract and a shortsop if they trade Story.

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    Could the Twins get Jon Gray and Arenado for all 5 of the above  named Twins? Would you make this trade? I would, if Arenado could  be tied up for 5 years or more. Sano's home runs would really carry well in the mile high atmosphere.

    I think trading our starting 3B when we're already in need of a corner infielder and starting left fielder would put us back significantly as a whole regardless of who we get.

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