My secretary is informing me that the trade deadline is actually August 2nd, but because I’ve already written the previous paragraph, and because I found it funny, I will ignore that.
There has recently been a weird but unsurprising defeatist mentality amongst Twins fans. Some have asked not what the Twins can do to improve at the deadline, but instead which veterans they can deal to consolidate their losses and give it another try next season. I disagree entirely with this notion. The Twins are a good baseball team lacking an extra arm, or two, or three, but acquiring those necessary few players is easily doable. Here are some of the prospects they may give up to do so.
It will be hard to part with a Minnesota boy, but the team may have to do it. Wallner stands at the crossroads of an excellent 2022 season and a weird position fit for the team in the future. There’s no shortage of young left-handed power-hitting outfielders on the Twins, making fate the beholder for any potential playing time for Wallner; his spot is far from saved.
Wallner is a legitimate prospect as well; Fangraphs gives him a 45 FV rating—a number that doesn’t blow anyone away but does represent a quality player with MLB potential. After all, Luis Arraez was just a 40+ FV prospect according to the same website. When drawing up trades, it’s easy to clump up the bottom of the barrel (Brent Rooker and Nick Gordon for Luis Castillo, anyone?) in a foolish attempt at swindling grown men out of their other, more talented grown men. That doesn’t happen in this era of MLB. Wallner alone will not net Frankie Montas, but he could be the 2nd best piece in a package deal for him or a starter like him.
The only thing that could make teams shy away from Wallner is that he may be too MLB-ready. Remember, out-of-contention organizations like the Athletics hate spending money even more than they hate their own fans, and they don’t like holding on to a player who will be arbitration-eligible around the time they’re supposed to compete again.
Like Wallner, whether a team wants Cole Sands depends on how much they’re willing to pay a player more than the vet minimum. Still, Sands is an awkward fit on the Twins. He has potential—that sweeping breaking ball is something vicious—but are they willing to throw him to the major league wolves and potentially take losses in exchange for learning experiences? A team out of contention can say yes, but the answer is far trickier for the Twins.
Sands is similar to Wallner in that he will likely be the 2nd best piece if the trade is of the big-splash variety.
College Arm in the Low Minors
This is cheating, but I make the rules, so I get to break them at will. The Twins have a glut of recently-drafted college arms laying waste to hitters in the low minors (hey, someone should write about that), and the team may dangle one in front of a team looking for the most sought-after commodity in sports: a young starting pitcher.
I think the team will avoid bringing up Cade Povich in talks, but Brent Headrick, David Festa, and Travis Adams could be the lotto tickets necessary to coax an elite reliever out of another organization.
Players the Team Will Not Move
Remember, this is theorizing, not prophecizing; I have no idea which prospects the Twins covet and secretly loathe.
I have a hard time seeing the team move Austin Martin; he’s both significantly underperforming and a crucial cog in their return for José Berríos. If the team liked him enough to part ways with their best homegrown starter in a generation, then I don’t see them reversing course so soon.
Spencer Steer is another player I don’t see the team parting ways with unless the return is massive. Gio Urshela is a stop-gap to nowhere, and Jose Miranda should avoid playing 3rd base as much as possible. Steer fits so perfectly in the team’s plan for next season that dealing him would make little sense.
Final player: Marco Raya. This is even more speculation-y than before, but he feels anointed by the Twins to be the next Berríos. A team would have to make an overwhelmingly generous offer to convince the team to trade him away, and sellers usually aren’t the ones to make such concessions.