Take a look at the trades made on Monday. How many are of interest to Twins fans? Several former Twins players were traded to new teams. Several players the Twins may have had some interest in (or at least some fans did) were also dealt.
WOW! Pre-deadline day began with a blockbuster involving one of the best relievers in baseball. The Padres sent former Twin Taylor Rogers, fire-breathing right-hander Dinelson Lamet and two prospects for Josh Hader, who’s tied with Edwin Díaz for the second-most reliever fWAR since his rookie season in 2017.
Rogers will join the Brewers bullpen, carrying a 4.35 ERA to Milwaukee. Rogers was terrific out of the gate for the Padres but has struggled to an 8.14 ERA over his last 22 appearances. He had just lost his closer role.
Padres’ POBO AJ Preller is known to get crazy in trades and free agency; this deal is his latest example. Hader hasn’t been himself lately but is undoubtedly a dominant force when he’s right. He’s under team control through 2023. Could the Twins have made an offer here?
With Luis Severino hurt and the Yankees searching for their first World Series title since 2009, the Bronx Bombers made a big move for one of the best starters on the market. Montas, 29, owns a 3.18 ERA in 104 2/3 innings for the Athletics this season.
According to MLB Pipeline, the Yankees shipped out their best pitching prospect in Waldichuk. In addition, the Athletics received the Yankees’ fourth-best pitching prospect in Medina and their Nos. 20 and 21 prospects in Sears and Bowman.
The Twins liked Montas dating back to March but ultimately fell short in their offer. Montas was one of three controllable starters said to be available. Luis Castillo was another, and the Reds dealt him to the Mariners next week. Tyler Mahle is still available as of Monday night.
In February, Keith Law ranked the Yankees’ system as the 22nd best in baseball. He ranked the Twins at No. 18, but that was before injuries and ineffectiveness plagued the top of their pitching pipeline. Either way, it feels like the Twins missed out here.
While the Yankees filled a starting pitcher need, the Astros improved their lineup with two additions. First, they acquired Trey Mancini in a three-team deal involving the Tampa Bay Rays. Mancini, 30, is hitting .268/.347/.404 with 16 doubles, a triple, and ten homers in 92 games for the Orioles.
AND THEY WEREN’T DONE THERE…
Astros receive: C Christian Vázquez
Red Sox receive: IF Emmanuel Valdez, OF Wilyer Abreu
Identifying a lack of offense at the catcher position, the Astros acquired one of the better hitting backstops in baseball. Vázquez, 31, is hitting .282/.327/.432 and is a free agent following this season.
According to MLB Pipeline, Valdez and Abreu were the 28th and 29th best prospects in the Astros system. While Ryan Jeffers recovers from a fractured thumb and Gary Sánchez scuffles at the plate, Vázquez felt like a strong and viable target and didn’t exactly break the prospect bank.
The White Sox are missing their best left-handed reliever in Aaron Bummer (lat strain), and he isn’t expected back particularly soon. They made a move for Jake Diekman to fill the hole, sending Major League catcher Reese McGuire back to Boston in the deal.
Diekman, 35, has a 4.23 ERA in 38 ⅓ innings. He’s walked 30 and struck out 51, relying on a mid-90s fastball and a hard, high-spin slider. Diekman has shut down lefties (.566 OPS) but struggled against righties (.842 OPS). He fills a significant hole for the White Sox in their quest to catch the Twins in the Central.
Diekman signed a two-year, $8 million contract in the winter and is under team control in 2023. If the White Sox can help him reign in his control, he’ll be a solid middle-innings option for them. The Red Sox got the White Sox’s third-string catcher in return.
CARDINALS BOLSTER ROTATION
Cardinals receive: LHP José Quintana, RHP Chris Stratton
Pirates receive: RHP Johan Oviedo, 1B/3B Malcom Nuñez
With rumors swirling about Juan Soto’s future, the Cardinals made a lower-wattage move by trading for former frontline starter José Quintana. Now pitching well for the Pirates, Quintana is enjoying a resurgence at 33.
Quintana owns a solid 3.50 ERA in 103 innings for Pittsburgh while holding opponents to a .679 OPS, his lowest mark since 2017 (.659). Quintana is having one of the best years of his career, with his lowest strikeout rate (21%) since 2019.
Quintana should provide some rotational stability for the Cardinals while their ace Jack Flaherty recovers from a shoulder problem. Quintana is a free agent after the season. In return, the Cardinals received 6-foot-5 righty Johan Oviedo and Malcom Nuñez, who was the Cardinals' ninth best prospect in 2021. The Twins could’ve used Quintana as a quality innings-eater.
ODO TO THE SOUTH
Braves receive: RHP Jake Odorizzi
Astros receive: LHP Will Smith
In a rare deal between two playoff teams, the Braves and Astros matched up on a one-for-one pitching trade Monday night. Jake Odorizzi spun seven scoreless innings against the Mariners Saturday, striking out eight and lowering his ERA to a solid 3.75 on the season. Odorizzi remains a serviceable mid-rotation starter and will pitch in the National League for the first time in his career.
Way back in 2019, many Twins fans were hoping the team would make a run at Will Smith, an excellent reliever who shined in 2.5 years with the Giants. Smith instead signed a three-year deal with Atlanta and now switches leagues for the first time to join the Astros. Smith, 33, isn't as good as he once was, but he was excellent last year in the playoffs. Smith didn't allow a run in 11 postseason innings. Houston is hoping he deepens an already great bullpen.
It's hard to say if the Twins would've had a chance to land the reliable lefty. They don't have any expendable starters and couldn't afford to give away any pitching from the big league roster.
MORE DEADLINE MAGIC?
Braves receive: OF Robbie Grossman
Tigers receive: LHP Kris Anglin
One year ago, the Braves traded for Eddie Rosario, Joc Pederson, and Jorge Soler. All three worked out wonderfully and the Braves won the World Series. They're hoping Robbie Grossman offers a similar punch this time around. Grossman, 32, is having a brutal season. He hit 23 homers and posted a 114 OPS+ in 2021 but hasn't translated that success in 2022.
It's an interesting, pretty low-risk move for the Braves. Grossman, despite all of his struggles, is hitting .364/.479/.520 against lefties. He'll likely assume a platoon role in Atlanta with Rosario. The Braves recently lost Adam Duvall to a season-ending wrist injury, so Grossman assumes that spot through the rest of the season, after which he'll enter free agency.
I was quietly wondering if the Twins would get involved for their old friend here. Their outfield is extremely banged up and Grossman simply isn't this bad. We'll see if the Twins target any corner bats as the deadline nears.
So What's Next?
The pressure is turned up on the Twins. They must improve this roster if they hope to hold on in the division and have a chance in October. Montas, Castillo, and Quintana are no longer options. Mahle is likely to move, as is Noah Syndergaard. The jury is out on Carlos Rodón and Nathan Eovaldi. Then there's the bullpen. Mychal Givens and David Robertson are still out there. Standout reliever Daniel Bard signed an extension with the Rockies, while the Yankees snagged Scott Effross from the Cubs. The market should take more shape Tuesday.
The implications of this deadline are straightforward. The Twins are in first place with clear holes and a one-year, $35.3 million superstar at shortstop. The division is weak and the time is now. Will they do enough to supplement the team? Will they do anything? Once thing is for sure, this front office has surprised us before. Can they do it again?