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  • Which Twins Regular is More Untouchable?


    Ted Schwerzler

    There’s no denying the Minnesota Twins are going to make at least one trade prior to the August 2nd deadline. What level of moves they make are yet to be seen, but if you want them to acquire something of substance, it will come with a cost. Are you really ok with either Alex Kirilloff or Jose Miranda being moved?

    Image courtesy of Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

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    Last week, I looked at what the Twins well has in it. The reality is this farm system checks in somewhere between 12-18 across the league. There’s depth, but with graduations, many of the high-level performers aren’t there. Royce Lewis is hurt. Austin Martin is underperforming. Matt Canterino is a reliever. Brooks Lee and Connor Prielipp aren’t being moved this quickly, probably. 

    There’s no doubt Minnesota would hope that teams are interested in hitters Spencer Steer and Matt Wallner, but I think it’s safe to say their ceilings are somewhat muted. Any GM worth their salt is starting high-return discussions with the likes of Alex Kirilloff and Jose Miranda. Both of them are at the major-league level, and removing them would hurt, but it’s a decision that the Twins may need to weigh.

    On Kirilloff, Minnesota finally has a player that’s found out how to deal with his wrist issues. Whether he’s got a clean bill of health or not, he’s making things work. Kirilloff is an asset in both left field and at first base defensively, but it’s his bat that’s always been the carrying tool. Over his last 30 games since returning from Triple-A, Kirilloff is slashing .301/.339/.456 with seven doubles and three homers. Though the home run potential is nowhere near where it will likely be, Kirilloff has continued to drive the ball to all fields. He’s a middle-of-the-order hitter and still just 24 years old.

    Despite a horrid start, Kirilloff has rebounded well and is under team control through 2027. Baseball Trade Values puts Kirilloff’s median value at 24.3 which ranks him as the 6th most valuable Twins asset. There’s no denying that moving him would hurt, but if Minnesota did choose to do so, they’d be looking for a substantial haul.

    On the other side of the infield, or sometimes sharing the same position, Jose Miranda has established himself as a legitimate big-league talent. He put up a ridiculous .973 OPS across Double and Triple-A last season to really break out and put himself on the national scene. Things started extremely slow for him this season, and on May 29th he was optioned in favor of Royce Lewis. Miranda owned a .183/.216/.338 line through his first 20 games but things turned when he never actually made it to St. Paul.

    Immediately returned to the Twins, Miranda was again in the lineup on May 30. Since that point he’s played in 40 games and owns a .313/.358/.531 slash line. Miranda has seven doubles and seven homers in that span, and while the K/BB ratio isn’t great, he looks every bit the competent power hitter on a corner that he appeared to be during his breakout.

    There’s no denying that Minnesota has Miranda penciled as a long-term fit at the hot corner, considering his deficiencies at first base, but teams will be trying to acquire his services in any blockbuster type of deal. Miranda is just 24-years-old, still has three options remaining, and still has his rookie status intact. Seen slightly less valuable by Baseball Trade Values, Miranda’s 20.3 median value is 8th amongst Twins players.

    So, with the real answer being neither, which of these two untouchables are you willing to allow an opposing team to acquire if the return is everything you want?

     

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    Trading away prospects is fine, trading away players who are actively contributing this team would be a very poor decision. I don't think our offense is good enough to be taking some of the better parts off it - not just for the 2022 playoff run, but for all the rest of years of control we have. 

    I'd trade any hitting prospect not named Royce Lewis (more because we'd be trading him while his stock is low). If they move Steer and/or Wallner for pitching, that'd be totally fine with me.

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    I don't get the "Miranda can't play 1B because he's a 3B" opinion. If you can play 3B you can learn to play 1B, it's less demanding. He may be less familiar at 1B right now but I'm sure he can learn to play it as well as he plays 3B.

    I don't think Miranda is all that great at 3B anyway. Total Zone says he's a lot worse at 3B than 1B. BIS disagrees but neither has enough innings to stabilize and neither one says he's a good fielder.

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    If you made me choose I would say keep Kirilloff as I feel like he is close to the same hitter with more defensive upside.  Still I agree with Danchat.  They both look like successful MLB hitters with long years of control  Those are generally not tradable assets. I would just keep both.  If looking to move players at this deadline I would move Steer, Jullien or Martin as hitters, maybe Wallner but outfield depth is light in the near term in this system so he might be needed especially if Kepler has any kind of long term injury.

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    I would generally have said Kirilloff over Miranda at any point in the past year, but it's getting very close.

    Kirilloff's approach generally seems very good, but I wonder a little bit about him underperforming his power potential going so heavily the other way.  It seems like pitchers have continued to stay away from the inner half mostly, knowing that most of the time he's only going to make it to the warning track going opposite field on an outer half pitch.  We've seen some good stretches from him but still just haven't seen the kind of stretch that Miranda has had the last two months.  His track record doesn't really show any more ability to draw walks, and while he makes a lot of contact he's not on Miranda's level there either.

    For the record, the most prominent values on Baseball Trade Values are surplus value not just overall value and both are projected to have the exact same years of control remaining with nearly identical projected value over that time.  Kirilloff is just projected to cost $5 million less over that span, and I don't think that assumption really seems correct though I haven't dug into it.  So right now projections are incredibly close as well.

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    I hope they don't trade either one of them.  I like them both and they have a huge upside.  But keep in mind if people are looking for trade help you need to be prepared to give up something good to get something good.  Hoarding all your prospects is not the answer either.  The Twins, like most teams tend to over hyped their prospects.  Remember most will never make it.  If we could just draft and develop our own pitchers much better than we have in the past we would be much better off.

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    I hope that neither are traded. That would be extremely shortsighted, and it is frustrating to hear all of the calls to make a huge splash trade. If we did go for any of the top arms (Castillo/Montas), it would almost certainly require one of Miranda or Kiriloff to be traded. 

    This Twins team, even though it is currently leading the division, is not that great right now. Coming into the season, I think most people saw this year as a minor rebuilding year (despite the Correa move), with the hopes of competing more strongly in 2023. I still think that should be the case, as if we trade either Miranda or Kiriloff we are mortgaging the next several years. Both are under team control for a long time, and both are clearly major league starters over the next 4-5 years.

    Why would we trade that for even a year of control over Montas or Castillo (plus we would be trading other top prospects as well as part of either trade). Does acquiring either Montas or Castillo really win us a playoff series this year? I just don't see how it would be worth it. 

    All of that said, I would not be surprised if the front office made one of those moves. 

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    So the general consensus puts the Twins between a rock and a hard place. They would be better off with Miranda and Kirilloff in the lineup this year.

    If the Twins cannot even pry away a couple of decent relief pitchers using prospects there needs to be some  reflection on the talent within the farm system.

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    1 hour ago, ChineseGandalf said:

    Why would we trade that for even a year of control over Montas or Castillo (plus we would be trading other top prospects as well as part of either trade). Does acquiring either Montas or Castillo really win us a playoff series this year? I just don't see how it would be worth it. 

    Neither of those guys, but Pablo Lopez from the Marlins is supposed to be on the block and they're looking for bats.

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    The consensus seems to be the Twins need to develop talent in-house, and are not going to pay market rates for substantial FA's. If that's true, then it makes no sense to move a proven ML capable high-offense guy with 5-6 yrs of control, who the org has just sunk 5 years of development costs into, for 1.5 yrs of control for a #2'ish SP. If the team is built on developing talent internally, then the value lies in the ROI on that development in ML years 1-5. If they excel, they will be moved in year 5. I think Twins will not be moving either/or.

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    Someone mentioned Arraez earlier on...wondering what will happen with him. He is the de facto AL batting champ that makes regular contact on a team that strikes out like crazy. His name should be so far off the table as to be invisible.

    Twins have not done well with their division leading brethren so far. Yanks, Stros, Brew....when the competition gets tough, Twins are an also-ran. Their pitching can't keep up and the hitting is woefully inconsistent...as all those shutouts will attest.

    Still...they can win a division and get to the dance., so thats the goal, without mortgaging the farm. But they can't win with the pitching staff they currently have. No possible way.

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    1 hour ago, Game7-91 said:

    The consensus seems to be the Twins need to develop talent in-house, and are not going to pay market rates for substantial FA's. If that's true, then it makes no sense to move a proven ML capable high-offense guy with 5-6 yrs of control, who the org has just sunk 5 years of development costs into, for 1.5 yrs of control for a #2'ish SP. If the team is built on developing talent internally, then the value lies in the ROI on that development in ML years 1-5. If they excel, they will be moved in year 5. I think Twins will not be moving either/or.

    I agree with this, and I hope they stick by this strategy. Frankly, I don't see a #2ish starting pitcher moving the needle much anyway. 

    The Twins have swung twice this year for starting pitching and made big time trades (Sonny Gray and Chris Paddack). Acquiring a top tier SP as a "final piece" is fine, but not when it comes at the expense of the next several years. This may be an unpopular opinion, but I am just fine with the Twins doing nothing at the trade deadline (and even missing the playoffs as a result) if it means that they have a longer sustained run of good play. 

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    32 minutes ago, ChineseGandalf said:

    I agree with this, and I hope they stick by this strategy. Frankly, I don't see a #2ish starting pitcher moving the needle much anyway. 

    The Twins have swung twice this year for starting pitching and made big time trades (Sonny Gray and Chris Paddack). Acquiring a top tier SP as a "final piece" is fine, but not when it comes at the expense of the next several years. This may be an unpopular opinion, but I am just fine with the Twins doing nothing at the trade deadline (and even missing the playoffs as a result) if it means that they have a longer sustained run of good play. 

    No disrespect to either Gray or Paddack but they are different types than either Montas or Castillo. Now i don't think the Twins will swing big for those two but Gray is a good #3/4 pitcher and Paddack may never be above a #5 again after an exciting look three years ago that sold Falvey on his potential.

    Something has to change if the Twins want to have good pitching. There are a number of avenues to take and all should be under consideration: draft/development (Prielipp is promising), free agency (always risky and seemingly blocked by the Twins book), and trades. If Kirilloff returns Lopez, then maybe it is time to gamble. It doesn't look like Kepler would return very much and Larnach is a question mark right now. Going forward, Arraez looks ok at first base and the team should be able to get production somewhere to make up for the loss of AK.

    The Twins are in a funk because everyone knows they are vulnerable with their pitching and the batters are pinched to do too much. The good news is their lineup (when rolling): Sanchez, Arraez, Polanco, Urshela, Correa, Miranda, Kirilloff, Buxton, Kepler, and Gordon. Gray has been fine behind Ryan, but it is pretty tough to watch Bundy and Archer pitch. Those guys did alright at times but they were really a stretch from the beginning. I guess we can say an improvement on Happ and Shoemaker, right, but why is that the ceiling. The guys missing here are Winder and Ober who looked to be ready for their opportunity and instead got injured. Is Smeltzer toast? This all just means that this is Falvey Week. We shall see how he shines.

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    This team is not going anywhere this year and will need some major off-season improvement to go anywhere next year.  If the front office wants to trade anyone, they need to determine:

    A) Which players aren't in next year's plans, and

    B) Which players might possibly be lost in the rule 5 draft.

    Those are the players to trade.  Two relievers aren't going to move the needle enough to get past the Yankees, Astros, Blue Jays, or Rays.

     

     

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    I would make both Kirilloff and Miranda untouchable, especially for 1 and a half years of a starter.  I think both are absolutely critical pieces for the next 3 or 4 years and beyond.  If some combination of Steer, Wallner, CES, and Larnach are not enough to get us a pitcher, I would pass.  Having Lewis, Buxton, Arraez, Miranda, Kirilloff, and Polanco to form a core for the foreseeable future is more important than one year of making the playoffs--and there is no guarantee that a Montas type pitcher will get us to the playoffs.  What is really sad is that the Twins didn't work the free agent pitching market last offseason.  I understand that there was risk, but there was risk in doing nothing as well which is why we are where we are with Bundy and Archer in the rotation.  

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    23 minutes ago, tony&rodney said:

    . If Kirilloff returns Lopez, then maybe it is time to gamble

    Lopez would come w/ 2 full arb seasons, UFA  end of 2024. For me the question would be whether or not he's open to an extension.....assuming Twins would not compete with ufa bidding if he made it that far. He would solidify mid rotation, age 26 coming into prime, some shoulder issues prior to trade to Miami but no signs of further injury.  Been around awhile fir 26....was signed by Seattle internationally 2012 age 16.

    Youre right, it may be worth a gamble off the ML roster, but I would hope they would secure him for something longer than 2 yrs (which would presumably be less than 2 if he doesn't extend,  as Twins would probably flip him sometime in '24).

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    1 hour ago, mikelink45 said:

    I move Kiriloff, players who injure frequently don't stop getting injured.

    Am I to assume then, that you do not approve of Buxton's contract?

    As far as Kirilloff; doesn't seem to be hitting with much power. Is that the wrist?

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    1 hour ago, chinmusic said:

    Am I to assume then, that you do not approve of Buxton's contract?

    As far as Kirilloff; doesn't seem to be hitting with much power. Is that the wrist?

    You seem to make steps I did not take.  Buxton is another discussion and I do not want to mix it into this choice of Miranda and Kiriloff that the article focuses on.  When I see players of equal value I will take the one that has the better health record.  It is that simple.

     

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    Neither Miranda nor Kirilloff will allow pitchers to walk them so they'll both probably be streaky hitters and neither one of them are going to be plus defenders or will likely flash much athleticism. That said, Miranda's season has been more impressive than Kirilloff's in pure production.

    Since June 1, Miranda is .328/.373/.536 OPS .909 wRC+ 158 on an inflated .378 BABIP.
    Kirilloff's post June 17th is .290/.328/.439 OPS .767 wRC+ 116. Also on a likely inflated .326 BABIP.

    Statcast has both of them about the same in xWOBA this year with slightly higher average and max exit velocities for Miranda. The exit velocities (average and max) both trail extreme power hitter Nick Gordon by a fair bit so color me unimpressed. The lack of power from Kirilloff jibes with his history. He's only flashed plus power during his AAA stint this year while Miranda has shown good power at several stops along the way.

    TBH, Kirilloff kinda seems like the twin of Trevor Larnach. Supposedly advanced hit tool with raw power despite neither one of them flashing that power regularly and Larnach will take a walk when the pitcher insists on it. I'm not bullish on Larnach so I don't think it's surprising I'm not bullish on Kirilloff right now, either.

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    14 hours ago, ChineseGandalf said:

    I hope that neither are traded. That would be extremely shortsighted, and it is frustrating to hear all of the calls to make a huge splash trade. If we did go for any of the top arms (Castillo/Montas), it would almost certainly require one of Miranda or Kiriloff to be traded. 

    This Twins team, even though it is currently leading the division, is not that great right now. Coming into the season, I think most people saw this year as a minor rebuilding year (despite the Correa move), with the hopes of competing more strongly in 2023. I still think that should be the case, as if we trade either Miranda or Kiriloff we are mortgaging the next several years. Both are under team control for a long time, and both are clearly major league starters over the next 4-5 years.

    Why would we trade that for even a year of control over Montas or Castillo (plus we would be trading other top prospects as well as part of either trade). Does acquiring either Montas or Castillo really win us a playoff series this year? I just don't see how it would be worth it. 

    All of that said, I would not be surprised if the front office made one of those moves. 

    Why do you think next year will be better? They won't have a lead in the division to start, and likely won't have a SS. They will have to replace at least two starting pitchers. I really am curious why anyone thinks next year is likely to be better. 

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    I like both players.

    The real question:  Who to keep or trade between Miranda, Kiriloff and T Larnach.  Can we keep all three? (I say yes)

    At this point, I would ask the Angels about Noah Syndergaard; How about a Kepler and/or Polanco with prospect Steer/Walner.  Then work like heck to re-sign Noah Syndergaard

    Trading Polanco would free up Arraez for full-time duty at 2B (hide his slight defensive liabilities)

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    IMO, trading any MLB talent for a starter won't do much to help this year. They need relievers, which can probably be had with prospects. Our pitching prospects are maybe a bit thin right now, otherwise I would think they would have been able to help out at the major level. However, there seems to be some pretty good hitters on the farm. Thats where I would deal from for at least 2 good setup guys. So the choice as I see it is get help for this year or build for the future. I don't think they can do both. But I would be happy to be proven wrong! 

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    8 hours ago, Mike Sixel said:

    Why do you think next year will be better? They won't have a lead in the division to start, and likely won't have a SS. They will have to replace at least two starting pitchers. I really am curious why anyone thinks next year is likely to be better. 

    They will have Maeda and half a year of Paddack and Lewis, so there is that. I thought Paddack looked promising when healthy.

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    17 hours ago, RJA said:

    I would make both Kirilloff and Miranda untouchable, especially for 1 and a half years of a starter.  I think both are absolutely critical pieces for the next 3 or 4 years and beyond.  If some combination of Steer, Wallner, CES, and Larnach are not enough to get us a pitcher, I would pass.  Having Lewis, Buxton, Arraez, Miranda, Kirilloff, and Polanco to form a core for the foreseeable future is more important than one year of making the playoffs--and there is no guarantee that a Montas type pitcher will get us to the playoffs.  What is really sad is that the Twins didn't work the free agent pitching market last offseason.  I understand that there was risk, but there was risk in doing nothing as well which is why we are where we are with Bundy and Archer in the rotation.  

    I agree with this take. Free agent pitching is always a crapshoot to an extent, but it would have been nice to pick up a few pieces then. Trading for pitching at the deadline is always the worst time to do it, because we are buying high rather than buying at a market rate in the offseason. 

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    On 7/27/2022 at 11:21 AM, Danchat said:

    Trading away prospects is fine, trading away players who are actively contributing this team would be a very poor decision. I don't think our offense is good enough to be taking some of the better parts off it - not just for the 2022 playoff run, but for all the rest of years of control we have. 

    I'd trade any hitting prospect not named Royce Lewis (more because we'd be trading him while his stock is low). If they move Steer and/or Wallner for pitching, that'd be totally fine with me.

    Teams with something worth trading for aren't looking for hitting prospects. 

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    Not much faith in this FO to trade for pitching.  They cannot identify good pitchers in FA or in the draft.  (SJ has to go.)  Plus they gave a love affair with sliders at 89-90 that end up as bombs.  Need to get pitchers that throw 95+ first, then worry about offspeed.  Mayber with the little general. lover of sliders, gone. they will redefine their pitching to fast ball first pitchers.

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