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  • Trade Target Tracker: RHP Tyler Mahle

    Nash Walker

    Trade season is fast approaching. The Twins have only eight more games until the deadline, and they must improve the club if they want to find success in the second half and into the postseason. 

    Image courtesy of Albert Cesare / The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

    This five-point scoring system runs on five factors: player, projection, availability, expected cost, and viability: a higher score = a better target for the Twins.

    PLAYER: How has the player performed? How much of a difference would they make for the Twins?
    PROJECTION: Is there an upside with this player? Is there team control beyond this year? Are there injury concerns?
    AVAILABILITY: Is the player actually on the trade block?
    EXPECTED COST: What will it take to acquire this player, in prospect capital and dollars?
    VIABILITY: What’s the leaguewide desire for this player? Would the Twins have a chance in a bidding war?

    Next up in our series is Reds’ starter Tyler Mahle, an intriguing option. 

    Flying under the radar because of his electric rotation mate Luis Castillo, Mahle has quietly posted similar numbers over his last three seasons. Mahle, 27, owns a 3.94 ERA and 3.74 FIP in 320 innings since 2020. He’s struck out 372 batters during that span, tied for the 12th most in baseball. Mahle coughed up 33 runs in his first 47 innings this season, but his ERA is 2.58 in seven starts since then. 

    Mahle gets swings and misses with a mid-90s fastball and a hard, high-spin slider. Mahle consistently spots his fastball up in the zone, producing whiffs and setting up his slider and splitter, a good pitch he’s thrown more often in 2022. Mahle is a flyball pitcher, which has undoubtedly hurt him at the hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark. 

    Mahle has a 2.30 road ERA since 2020, giving up just five homers in over 100 innings. Mahle has a 5.63 ERA at home in that same span, allowing 19 homers in 78 ⅓ innings. He’s a prime candidate to break out with a change of scenery. 


    Unfortunately for Mahle and the Reds, he recently went on the injured list for a shoulder strain in early July. An MRI showed no structural damage, and Mahle expects to return right after the All-Star break. Still, shoulder problems are always scary, and it’s a key consideration for any team looking to trade for Mahle. 

    Mahle has shockingly stark platoon splits over the last three seasons, with lefties posting a .573 OPS compared to an .835 OPS for righties. Unsurprisingly, righties have slugged .578 against Mahle at home during that span, with a .334 mark on the road. 

    How would Mahle fare pitching his home games at the pitcher-friendly Target Field? Well, his expected ERA of 3.20 could be part of the answer. Any evaluation of Mahle (or Castillo, for that matter) has to include the impacts of The Great American Bandbox. 


    The Reds have some crucial decisions to make. They already dealt Sonny Gray to the Twins this offseason and hold the keys to two of the best starting pitchers on the trade market. Castillo and Mahle have 1.5 years of team control, meaning any acquiring club would also have them under contract for 2023. 

    It could benefit the Reds to allow Mahle to showcase his health in the second half, then deal him this offseason. It hasn’t been a particularly great season for him, yet his 3.55 FIP shows that bad luck has been a significant factor. It isn’t easy to envision a team giving up *more* for Mahle in the winter unless he has a crazy-good second half. 

    It’s very likely the Reds will deal both their frontline starters in different deals, loading up their system and looking toward the future. 


    Mahle should cost less than Castillo, but don’t assume it’ll be drastic. The Reds know Mahle’s underlying numbers are solid, and this is once again a seller’s market on the starting pitching front. Any deal for Mahle likely includes at least one top-100 prospect. 

    MLB Trade Simulator pegs Mahle at a median value of 21.2, well below Castillo (41.2). An example package that would suffice the tool is Austin Martin, Matt Wallner, and Simeon Woods Richardson. It takes value to get value, and the Twins would have to feel more confident in Mahle’s metrics than his surface numbers in 2022. 

    Is that a price you’re willing to pay?


    Given the Dodgers (and Yankees) known interest in Castillo, he’s probably a far-fetched get for the Twins. Mahle feels much more viable. He would presumably join Kenta Maeda, Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober, and his former teammate Sonny Gray in the 2023 rotation while helping the Twins down the stretch this summer and into the fall. 

    The Twins have yet to make a blockbuster move at the trade deadline under the Derek Falvey/Thad Levine regime. Mahle wouldn’t quite qualify as that, but he’d hopefully provide stability to a rotation in need. Acquiring Mahle may also give the Twins more flexibility in a different deal, knowing they wouldn’t trade the entire farm for Castillo. 


    I believe Mahle fits the Twins. He’s a good mix between talent and cost, with enough risk to hurt but also enough upside to impact. What do you think about Tyler Mahle? Comment below!



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    I would be very reluctant to add a pitcher who has some shoulder issues. If those issues resurface, he won’t help this year which is the main reason you are looking to add him mid season. Given your suggested list of prospects to trade, completing this deal means you  effectively traded Berrios and Wallner for Mahle as Martin and SWR came over for Berrios. Plus, you are trading Martin at his lowest possible value. No thanks on this trade.  

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    The Twins have 17 blown saves in 37 opportunities. Only three teams are worse in percentage terms (Red Sox, Cubs, Rays). I concur with the other comments above. If we're going to trade some of our better prospects, I believe, at least from a value added standpoint, the Twins would be better off targeting relief help. 

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    I disagree with the other posters. I think this is a potentially high upside, low downside deal once Mahle gets away from that bandbox in Cincinnati. As I've said in other posts, we need to get past our attachment to prospects and be willing to trade quality to get quality. Particularly, we need to be willing to trade bat first corner OFs and non-SS IFs. That's where our surplus is. Mahle is the guy to get if we can't get Castillo or the price for Montas is too high. I worry less about shoulder issues with a clean MRI since frankly every pitcher in MLB has shoulder issues at some point. Elbow issues are what concerns me. 

    Having said that,  still think the offer is a little rich. I'm fine with Wallner and Martin, but I would like to keep SWR. How about substituting Raya or Varland for SWR? Or maybe Canterino? They are a little farther away from MLB so they fit the Reds' timeline better. Another thought is a straight up trade of Larnach for Mahle? That is an overpay by the Twins, but not if we can get a 2-3 year deal with Mahle as part of the trade or if the Reds throw in a non-40 pitching prospect or a catching prospect like Nelson. In each scenario, I think the Twins are trading form surplus for need.   

    Bottom line, I think Mahle is a real target and a realistic one to boot. I hoe we get him if we don't get Castillo or Montas. 

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    From Baseball-Reference:

    Mahle, 2022: 1.8 WAR, 3W, 7L, 4.48 ERA, 92.1 IP, 102 K, 1.300 WHIP

    Ober, 2022: 0.1 WAR, 1W, 2L, 4.01 ERA, 33.2 IP, 29 K, 1.277 WHIP

    Winder, 2022: 0.5 WAR, 4W, 3L, 3.77 ERA, 45.1 IP, 29 K, 1.235 WHIP

    I'm not trying to say Mahle overall might not be a better pitcher than the two already in the Twins' system, but this year, Ks aside, I'd rather have Winder starting than Mahle. Ober also is in the same ballpark as Mahle.

    Mahle definitely helps because adding him would move one of the others to a weak bullpen, but Mahle is a #3, and unless he both is totally healthy, and thrives on the venue change (which could NOT happen as easily as it could), adding him doesn't likely move the needle much on winning a playoff series. Certainly not to be shipping top prospects for. (Sometimes the trades you don't make...)

    I'd love to see a big move involving top prospects for a #1-#2 starter (like Castillo or Montas if healthy), but otherwise, I'd like to keep our prospects for either development or offseason moves made with cooler heads at real prices. And just enjoy the recovery season by the Twins for what it is; a step in the right direction from being a bad division bottom feeder.

    Trade some AAAA players or a hot Sano for some middle bullpen help, but no reliever I've seen on the market is worth a top prospect, and without a #1-#2 SP, relievers are unlikely to make a difference in the playoffs.

    Edited by PatPfund
    Typo on SP
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    It's how much do we think we need. And are we going to make a big splash  If we really want to compete we need a starter, reliever , and one more hitter. That will take a lot. But we have a lot. We have had 14+ starting pitchers between majors and St.Paul this year. All of those pitchers are going to be in the majors next year if we room. Since we only need  six starters we can move some guys. We can trade martin, Richardson, balazovic ober waller steer larnach Duffy sano maybe ursela and maybe Kepler. That's enough to get Castillo , Bednar, maybe Bell or the cubs catcher.lets say it takes almost all of those guys. We would then have Bell at 1b, polanko at 2b,Correa at s.s,Miranda or arraez at 3rd. Kirloff and Buxton and garlicky in outfield. Catcher would be sanchez unless trade is made for a catcher. Let me know what you think we would need to get this done? Or will we have to back off in one or two of these positions to lesser player


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    The shoulder is enough to scare me away from this trade.  Go after Castillo first.  Only think about Mahle if you get a truly great deal.  Martin, Wallner, and SWR is too much for a pitcher with a bum shoulder.  I would give one of those and another low level prospect but I doubt the Reds would be into it.

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    Adding a Mahle would be a move for 2023 and beyond.   I have to be honest...I feel like there are just so many issues with the current pitching staff that adding one guy isn't the solution.  I'm only interested in guys that can help this year, 2023, and maybe beyond that. 

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    8 hours ago, milkytoast said:

    I just looked up Austin Marin on Baseball Reference and his picture is hilarious. hahah


    Yeah, I laugh every time I look at that.  Apparently the photographers at MLB are sworn to never use Photoshop to fix even an unlucky choice of attire versus background. :)

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