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Nick Nelson

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  1. Like
    Nick Nelson got a reaction from DocBauer in Week in Review: Making Big Moves   
    Per the official MLB.com story, "The preliminary expectation is that Larnach could return to the field for the Twins in six weeks." And that wording would even suggest that a rehab stint was built into that timeline. But as Falvey said in the following paragraph, "That’s what’s been reported to us, but again, probably have to do the surgery and get on the back end and make sure we feel good about how it went."
    Maybe just a slower road back than hoped, without any setbacks necessarily. I will say that estimate seemed quite optimistic to me when I heard it, albeit without much direct knowledge of the procedure. Kyle Garlick underwent sports hernia surgery last July (which I believe to be the same thing by a different name?) and never made it back.
    One way or another, it'd be good to get a firm update on Larnach soon. 
  2. Like
    Nick Nelson got a reaction from roger in Week in Review: Making Big Moves   
    Per the official MLB.com story, "The preliminary expectation is that Larnach could return to the field for the Twins in six weeks." And that wording would even suggest that a rehab stint was built into that timeline. But as Falvey said in the following paragraph, "That’s what’s been reported to us, but again, probably have to do the surgery and get on the back end and make sure we feel good about how it went."
    Maybe just a slower road back than hoped, without any setbacks necessarily. I will say that estimate seemed quite optimistic to me when I heard it, albeit without much direct knowledge of the procedure. Kyle Garlick underwent sports hernia surgery last July (which I believe to be the same thing by a different name?) and never made it back.
    One way or another, it'd be good to get a firm update on Larnach soon. 
  3. Like
    Nick Nelson reacted to PatPfund in Week in Review: Making Big Moves   
    Great piece. The last play was a bummer, but it doesn't overcast the week for me. The Twins made really good moves, the team should be stronger, and each of the adds has had one or more moments to shine. Cole Sands actually (finally?) looked like he might be a useful pitcher tonight, and the Twins played a possible playoff matchup quite well (something noted by the Jays TV crew) this weekend.
    Who knows how it will all shake out, but the Twins are already playing meaningful games about two months later than last year with a great chance of October baseball in Minnesota. This sort of chance is what baseball fans live for!
  4. Like
    Nick Nelson reacted to roger in Week in Review: Making Big Moves   
    Thanks for the recap, Nick, and the video of Rocco’s opinion of that play.
    For some reason, I recall original reports saying they were expecting Larnach to have a 6-8 week recovery.  Another two weeks and then a 15-20 day trip to the minors would put him back around September 10.  Have my fingers crossed that both he and Maeda are back by then.  Would be great getting either of the other pitchers also back by the last two weeks.
  5. Like
    Nick Nelson got a reaction from Melissa in Week in Review: Between Rock Bottom and a Hard Place   
    Do people understand how bad the optics would be -- for fans and especially for players -- if the front office decided to "sell" while in first place? It'd be unforgivable. It's not an option.
    No kidding. A year ago today the Twins were 44-62 and 18 games out of first place. We've got an exciting stretch run ahead. Keep expectations in check, and enjoy it! 
  6. Like
  7. Like
    Nick Nelson reacted to Minny505 in Week in Review: Between Rock Bottom and a Hard Place   
    This is where I'm at as well. A couple relievers for mostly spare prospects will help win the division. Trading any of the young, controllable, MLB hitters for a top SP is more of a move you make when you plan on making a run IN the postseason. 
    I know the playoffs are kind of a crapshoot, but not that much of a crapshoot.
  8. Like
    Nick Nelson reacted to nicksaviking in Week in Review: Between Rock Bottom and a Hard Place   
    There's many things that go into doing what's best for the team and you can bet putting fans in the stands and keeping TVs tuned in is one of those things as far as ownership is concerned.
    But as far as what's best on field, I'd argue that showing the players you're not quitting on them while they're still in 1st place is probably doing what is best for the team. It would be demoralizing, and not just for this year, if they sold off players.
  9. Like
    Nick Nelson got a reaction from RpR in Week in Review: Between Rock Bottom and a Hard Place   
    Do people understand how bad the optics would be -- for fans and especially for players -- if the front office decided to "sell" while in first place? It'd be unforgivable. It's not an option.
    No kidding. A year ago today the Twins were 44-62 and 18 games out of first place. We've got an exciting stretch run ahead. Keep expectations in check, and enjoy it! 
  10. Like
    Nick Nelson got a reaction from TwinsDr2021 in Week in Review: Between Rock Bottom and a Hard Place   
    Do people understand how bad the optics would be -- for fans and especially for players -- if the front office decided to "sell" while in first place? It'd be unforgivable. It's not an option.
    No kidding. A year ago today the Twins were 44-62 and 18 games out of first place. We've got an exciting stretch run ahead. Keep expectations in check, and enjoy it! 
  11. Like
    Nick Nelson reacted to Whitey333 in Week in Review: Between Rock Bottom and a Hard Place   
    Nick, you always have such thorough well thought out articles.  I always read your stories first.  The Twins have a lot of flaws and holes not to mention the injuries.  I don't want to mortgage the future either but is our farm system so great that it's the future?  People need to be realistic.  Most of the prospects in any organization are just that, prospects often over- hyped.
  12. Like
    Nick Nelson got a reaction from PopRiveter in Week in Review: Between Rock Bottom and a Hard Place   
    The Minnesota Twins are falling apart and bottoming out as the trade deadline bears down, underscoring the desperate need for impact help in order to maintain their thin lead in the division and position themselves as a credible postseason threat. 
    Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 7/25 through Sun, 7/31
    ***
    Record Last Week: 1-4 (Overall: 53-48)
    Run Differential Last Week: -14 (Overall: +26)
    Standing: 1st Place in AL Central (1.0 GA)
    Last Week's Game Results:
    Game 97 | MIL 7, MIN 6: Bundy, Bullpen Let Down Bats in Loss
    Game 98 | MIL 10, MIN 4: Tellez Sinks Twins with Pair of 3-Run Homers
    Game 99 | SD 10, MIN 1: Ryan Gives up 5 Home Runs in Laugher
    Game 100 | MIN 7, SD 4: Sonny Plays Stopper, Correa Steps Up
    Game 101 | SD 3, MIN 2: Offense Goes Quietly, Twins Drop Series
    NEWS & NOTES
    Miguel Sanó was back ... then he wasn't. Following a three-month rehab from knee surgery, the slugger was activated ahead of Tuesday's game. Appearing in three games, he went 0-for-6 with four strikeouts, then went back on the injured list with knee inflammation. Evidently the injury flared up during a slide in the final game of his rehab.
    For Sanó, whose career was basically on the line this year, it's another terrible break. He was in need of a good season to resuscitate his sagging stock ahead of his date with free agency. Instead, his body is letting him down and he may find himself settling for a minor-league deal in the offseason. It seems likely (to me, anyway) we've seen him for the last time in a Twins uniform.
    Sanó was far from the biggest loss for the lineup. Max Kepler went on the injured list alongside him, with his fractured pinky toe proving too much to play through. Most perturbingly, Alex Kirilloff came out of Saturday's game with wrist soreness. More on that later.
    Filling in these key roster spots are names like Tim Beckham and Mark Contreras. They're deserving of chances, and both great stories in their own right, but it's tough to be leaning on unproven Triple-A players at a time like this. The Twins are in the grinder right now. 
    Alas, the pitching staff also keeps getting blindsided by crushing blows. Danny Coulombe, who's been unable to fight his way back from a hip injury, is now out with season-ending surgery. Meanwhile, Josh Winder landed on the injured list again due to his recurring shoulder impingement. He's been shut down and sent to Fort Myers as the team tries to figure out what's going on. They aren't calling this a season-ending move for him, but it very well could be.
    HIGHLIGHTS
    For me personally, the biggest highlight of the week was traveling to San Diego and taking in a couple of games at Petco Park. The stadium lived up to the hype, and the downtown gameday experience far exceeded all expectations. Admittedly, it felt a lot easier to ride out a rotten week for the Twins while enjoying an incredible city and soaking in the vibes of sold-out summer games in perfect weather.
    I realize this does little for any of you. I'm sorry. 
    My own experiences aside, there were some legitimately good moments on the field, even as the Twins bumbled through a sloppy 1-4 week. José Miranda stood out as the biggest bright spot, starting every game and going 8-for-19 with two homers and five RBIs. 
    He has suddenly become the pivotal force in the middle of the order, with an aggressive free-swinging approach that yields powerful drive after powerful drive. Opposing pitchers just can't find a way to stop the kid. He even made a few nifty plays defensively at third base.
    Byron Buxton was the other explosive performer in a generally underwhelming week from the offense. He homered three times and stole a base (notable after the previous week's PRP injection in his knee). 
    On the pitching side, Sonny Gray was good. 
    LOWLIGHTS
    Gray's solid outing on Saturday – 5 IP, 1 ER – was much needed in the wake of three straight duds from the rapidly unraveling Twins rotation. Dylan Bundy and Chris Archer were bad against Milwaukee, but Joe Ryan's clunker to open the Padres series took the cake. 
    In 4 ⅔ innings, the right-hander was knocked around for 10 earned runs on FIVE homers. It was a very odd game for Ryan, who also struck out seven and set a career high with 15 swings and misses. His stuff was either really working or really not working, and that's a scarily unpredictable proposition for a guy who'd likely be starting in the postseason.
    One could argue that Rocco Baldelli hung Ryan out to dry on Saturday night, but who can really blame him with a bullpen that continues to inspire zero confidence. Tyler Duffey has fallen back into the pits after a modest run of effectiveness – he took the loss with a brutal ninth-inning appearance in Milwaukee on Tuesday, and then endangered a six-run lead in the ninth on Saturday by coughing up a three-run HR.
    Caleb Thielbar is gearing up for a return, which will be helpful, but this bullpen continues to look direly undermanned, with a void of trustworthy options beyond Jhoan Duran and Griffin Jax. 
    The pitching staff needs impact reinforcements, and they'll likely get some within the next couple days. Even then, the Twins are clearly gonna need the offense to carry the load if they're going to hang on for a playoff berth and hope to make any noise. That's where the past week proved most unsettling.  
    The team pitched well enough to win on Sunday for a change, but the offense could not answer the call in a 3-2 loss, coming up empty outside of solo homers from Miranda and Luis Arraez. Carlos Correa had a big two-run homer on Saturday night, but otherwise went 1-for-20 on the week. Gary Sanchez went 1-for-10 with seven strikeouts, wrapping up a month of July in which the now-starting catcher slashed .149/.245/.234.
    The lineup is lagging and will now be without Kepler for however long it takes his toe to get right. Meanwhile any small hope of Sanó coming in and lighting any sort of spark is gone. But the Kirilloff news is easily the most gutting on the lineup front.
    I don't want to make a mountain out of a molehill, but the revelation from Baldelli that "Kirilloff's wrist got to the point where he couldn't swing" strikes me with possible season-sinking implications. I had remarked a few days earlier about how Kirilloff was noticeably reverting to the habit of topping every pitch – that tendency was a clear indicator of how his wrist issues were impeding his swing before he went to the minors, received a cortisone shot, and got back on track. Following his initial power surge, he had one of the highest grounder rates in the league in July.
    Kirilloff was such a huge factor in the offense's midsummer success, slashing .307/.328/.548 with 17 RBIs in his first 18 games back after being recalled from Triple-A. But his gradual regression back into an unimposing ground-ball machine was painfully evident, and the numbers back it up. Sadly, news of his wrist re-emerging as a debilitating factor comes as no surprise.
    Several of the key young players that the Twins were hoping to rely on this year – Coulombe, Royce Lewis, Chris Paddack – are already gone for the season. Several others – Kirilloff, Winder, Jorge Alcala, Matt Canterino, Randy Dobnak – are persistently plagued and repeatedly sidelined by mysterious injuries and conditions that the players and medical staff can't seem to solve. 
    It makes you wonder, at this critical moment ... is the structural core of this team good enough to be fixed up for a successful stretch run? Or are we flailing against inevitability?
    TRENDING STORYLINE
    That question weighs heavily with the trade deadline looming at 5:00 PM CT on Tuesday. The philosophical dilemma I pondered over the All-Star break – how much does it make sense to sacrifice key future capital in a leveraged market to aid a deeply flawed current roster? – has only grown murkier in two weeks since. The Twins have gone 3-4, watched their division lead shrink to one, and absorbed bad break after bad break on the health front, as outlined above.
    The Twins, Guardians and White Sox are bunched in the standings, each separated by a game apiece. They are all looking to add ahead of Tuesday's deadline, and are pretty much in direct competition to address semi-similar weaknesses in a finite seller's market. It's going to be fascinating to see how things play out between these three competing clubs as they set themselves up for the final stretch in a division that's very much there for the taking.
    LOOKING AHEAD
    The Twins have seven home games in the week ahead, setting the tone for a month in which 20 of their 28 games will be played at Target Field. 
    MONDAY, 8/1: TIGERS @ TWINS – LHP Tarik Skubal v. TBD
    TUESDAY, 8/2: TIGERS @ TWINS – RHP Matt Manning v. RHP Chris Archer
    WEDNESDAY, 8/3: TIGERS @ TWINS – LHP Tyler Alexander v. RHP Joe Ryan
    THURSDAY, 8/4: BLUE JAYS @ TWINS – RHP Alek Manoah v. RHP Sonny Gray
    FRIDAY, 8/5: BLUE JAYS @ TWINS – RHP Ross Stripling v. RHP Dylan Bundy
    SATURDAY, 8/6: BLUE JAYS @ TWINS – RHP Jose Berrios v. TBD
    SUNDAY, 8/7: BLUE JAYS @ TWINS – RHP Kevin Gausman v. RHP Chris Archer

    View full article
  13. Like
    Nick Nelson got a reaction from Hosken Bombo Disco in Week in Review: Between Rock Bottom and a Hard Place   
    The Minnesota Twins are falling apart and bottoming out as the trade deadline bears down, underscoring the desperate need for impact help in order to maintain their thin lead in the division and position themselves as a credible postseason threat. 
    Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 7/25 through Sun, 7/31
    ***
    Record Last Week: 1-4 (Overall: 53-48)
    Run Differential Last Week: -14 (Overall: +26)
    Standing: 1st Place in AL Central (1.0 GA)
    Last Week's Game Results:
    Game 97 | MIL 7, MIN 6: Bundy, Bullpen Let Down Bats in Loss
    Game 98 | MIL 10, MIN 4: Tellez Sinks Twins with Pair of 3-Run Homers
    Game 99 | SD 10, MIN 1: Ryan Gives up 5 Home Runs in Laugher
    Game 100 | MIN 7, SD 4: Sonny Plays Stopper, Correa Steps Up
    Game 101 | SD 3, MIN 2: Offense Goes Quietly, Twins Drop Series
    NEWS & NOTES
    Miguel Sanó was back ... then he wasn't. Following a three-month rehab from knee surgery, the slugger was activated ahead of Tuesday's game. Appearing in three games, he went 0-for-6 with four strikeouts, then went back on the injured list with knee inflammation. Evidently the injury flared up during a slide in the final game of his rehab.
    For Sanó, whose career was basically on the line this year, it's another terrible break. He was in need of a good season to resuscitate his sagging stock ahead of his date with free agency. Instead, his body is letting him down and he may find himself settling for a minor-league deal in the offseason. It seems likely (to me, anyway) we've seen him for the last time in a Twins uniform.
    Sanó was far from the biggest loss for the lineup. Max Kepler went on the injured list alongside him, with his fractured pinky toe proving too much to play through. Most perturbingly, Alex Kirilloff came out of Saturday's game with wrist soreness. More on that later.
    Filling in these key roster spots are names like Tim Beckham and Mark Contreras. They're deserving of chances, and both great stories in their own right, but it's tough to be leaning on unproven Triple-A players at a time like this. The Twins are in the grinder right now. 
    Alas, the pitching staff also keeps getting blindsided by crushing blows. Danny Coulombe, who's been unable to fight his way back from a hip injury, is now out with season-ending surgery. Meanwhile, Josh Winder landed on the injured list again due to his recurring shoulder impingement. He's been shut down and sent to Fort Myers as the team tries to figure out what's going on. They aren't calling this a season-ending move for him, but it very well could be.
    HIGHLIGHTS
    For me personally, the biggest highlight of the week was traveling to San Diego and taking in a couple of games at Petco Park. The stadium lived up to the hype, and the downtown gameday experience far exceeded all expectations. Admittedly, it felt a lot easier to ride out a rotten week for the Twins while enjoying an incredible city and soaking in the vibes of sold-out summer games in perfect weather.
    I realize this does little for any of you. I'm sorry. 
    My own experiences aside, there were some legitimately good moments on the field, even as the Twins bumbled through a sloppy 1-4 week. José Miranda stood out as the biggest bright spot, starting every game and going 8-for-19 with two homers and five RBIs. 
    He has suddenly become the pivotal force in the middle of the order, with an aggressive free-swinging approach that yields powerful drive after powerful drive. Opposing pitchers just can't find a way to stop the kid. He even made a few nifty plays defensively at third base.
    Byron Buxton was the other explosive performer in a generally underwhelming week from the offense. He homered three times and stole a base (notable after the previous week's PRP injection in his knee). 
    On the pitching side, Sonny Gray was good. 
    LOWLIGHTS
    Gray's solid outing on Saturday – 5 IP, 1 ER – was much needed in the wake of three straight duds from the rapidly unraveling Twins rotation. Dylan Bundy and Chris Archer were bad against Milwaukee, but Joe Ryan's clunker to open the Padres series took the cake. 
    In 4 ⅔ innings, the right-hander was knocked around for 10 earned runs on FIVE homers. It was a very odd game for Ryan, who also struck out seven and set a career high with 15 swings and misses. His stuff was either really working or really not working, and that's a scarily unpredictable proposition for a guy who'd likely be starting in the postseason.
    One could argue that Rocco Baldelli hung Ryan out to dry on Saturday night, but who can really blame him with a bullpen that continues to inspire zero confidence. Tyler Duffey has fallen back into the pits after a modest run of effectiveness – he took the loss with a brutal ninth-inning appearance in Milwaukee on Tuesday, and then endangered a six-run lead in the ninth on Saturday by coughing up a three-run HR.
    Caleb Thielbar is gearing up for a return, which will be helpful, but this bullpen continues to look direly undermanned, with a void of trustworthy options beyond Jhoan Duran and Griffin Jax. 
    The pitching staff needs impact reinforcements, and they'll likely get some within the next couple days. Even then, the Twins are clearly gonna need the offense to carry the load if they're going to hang on for a playoff berth and hope to make any noise. That's where the past week proved most unsettling.  
    The team pitched well enough to win on Sunday for a change, but the offense could not answer the call in a 3-2 loss, coming up empty outside of solo homers from Miranda and Luis Arraez. Carlos Correa had a big two-run homer on Saturday night, but otherwise went 1-for-20 on the week. Gary Sanchez went 1-for-10 with seven strikeouts, wrapping up a month of July in which the now-starting catcher slashed .149/.245/.234.
    The lineup is lagging and will now be without Kepler for however long it takes his toe to get right. Meanwhile any small hope of Sanó coming in and lighting any sort of spark is gone. But the Kirilloff news is easily the most gutting on the lineup front.
    I don't want to make a mountain out of a molehill, but the revelation from Baldelli that "Kirilloff's wrist got to the point where he couldn't swing" strikes me with possible season-sinking implications. I had remarked a few days earlier about how Kirilloff was noticeably reverting to the habit of topping every pitch – that tendency was a clear indicator of how his wrist issues were impeding his swing before he went to the minors, received a cortisone shot, and got back on track. Following his initial power surge, he had one of the highest grounder rates in the league in July.
    Kirilloff was such a huge factor in the offense's midsummer success, slashing .307/.328/.548 with 17 RBIs in his first 18 games back after being recalled from Triple-A. But his gradual regression back into an unimposing ground-ball machine was painfully evident, and the numbers back it up. Sadly, news of his wrist re-emerging as a debilitating factor comes as no surprise.
    Several of the key young players that the Twins were hoping to rely on this year – Coulombe, Royce Lewis, Chris Paddack – are already gone for the season. Several others – Kirilloff, Winder, Jorge Alcala, Matt Canterino, Randy Dobnak – are persistently plagued and repeatedly sidelined by mysterious injuries and conditions that the players and medical staff can't seem to solve. 
    It makes you wonder, at this critical moment ... is the structural core of this team good enough to be fixed up for a successful stretch run? Or are we flailing against inevitability?
    TRENDING STORYLINE
    That question weighs heavily with the trade deadline looming at 5:00 PM CT on Tuesday. The philosophical dilemma I pondered over the All-Star break – how much does it make sense to sacrifice key future capital in a leveraged market to aid a deeply flawed current roster? – has only grown murkier in two weeks since. The Twins have gone 3-4, watched their division lead shrink to one, and absorbed bad break after bad break on the health front, as outlined above.
    The Twins, Guardians and White Sox are bunched in the standings, each separated by a game apiece. They are all looking to add ahead of Tuesday's deadline, and are pretty much in direct competition to address semi-similar weaknesses in a finite seller's market. It's going to be fascinating to see how things play out between these three competing clubs as they set themselves up for the final stretch in a division that's very much there for the taking.
    LOOKING AHEAD
    The Twins have seven home games in the week ahead, setting the tone for a month in which 20 of their 28 games will be played at Target Field. 
    MONDAY, 8/1: TIGERS @ TWINS – LHP Tarik Skubal v. TBD
    TUESDAY, 8/2: TIGERS @ TWINS – RHP Matt Manning v. RHP Chris Archer
    WEDNESDAY, 8/3: TIGERS @ TWINS – LHP Tyler Alexander v. RHP Joe Ryan
    THURSDAY, 8/4: BLUE JAYS @ TWINS – RHP Alek Manoah v. RHP Sonny Gray
    FRIDAY, 8/5: BLUE JAYS @ TWINS – RHP Ross Stripling v. RHP Dylan Bundy
    SATURDAY, 8/6: BLUE JAYS @ TWINS – RHP Jose Berrios v. TBD
    SUNDAY, 8/7: BLUE JAYS @ TWINS – RHP Kevin Gausman v. RHP Chris Archer

    View full article
  14. Like
    Nick Nelson got a reaction from glunn in What Would an Ideal Trade Deadline Look Like for The Twins?   
    We've been covering the upcoming trade deadline from every angle here at Twins Daily, with a regular stream of articles exploring various targets, and series of PDFs for Caretakers breaking down each division. 
    After taking it all in, and making a realistic assessment of the Twins' situation and needs, here's way I've landed as a perfect plan.
    Now, to be clear: this plan is designed to make the Twins credible postseason contenders, not World Series favorites. I'm not of the mind that they should go "all in" and trade premium future capital for the sake of a short-term push, because I don't think they're at a point of overall team quality where it makes sense to significantly sacrifice the future.
    With that said, opportunities like this are not guaranteed to come along often, and when you find yourself in this position you've got to take a shot. I think these moves would help the Twins address their key weaknesses in a meaningful way and set themselves up for postseason success without selling the farm.
    Here are five completely speculative ideas for hypothetical trades:
    Acquire SP Noah Syndergaard from Angels for INF Keoni Cavaco and LHP Devin Smeltzer
    I'll be honest: I have no idea what it'll take to get Syndergaard. He'll have a market, for sure, but he's nowhere near the top of the value chart among available starters. Having signed a one-year, $21 million deal with the Angels during the offseason, he's due about $7 million in the final two months, and a free agent in waiting.
    Syndergaard has been solid this season, but far from his electric pre-surgery norm. His velocity hasn't fully returned since 2020 Tommy John surgery and his strikeouts are way down. In some ways, you're betting on him clicking down the stretch, kind of like Justin Verlander did in 2017.
    Is it likely? No, especially to that extent. But even if he stays the current course Syndergaard is a solid pitcher – a clear upgrade over anyone in the Twins rotation not named Gray or Ryan – and a respectable postseason option. And the cost can't be that high.
    Like I said, I have no idea what a realistic return for Syndergaard looks like, but the one suggested above feels plausible. The Angels get back 2019's #13 overall draft pick in Cavaco, who has struggled early in the minors but is still only 21 and showing signs of breaking through at Single-A. The Angels are likely familiar with SoCal native and former prep star. Smeltzer adds a bit of floor to the ceiling-focused deal for LA – a solid MLB starter or swing man with three years of team control remaining.
    If this package proves to be too light, I'm okay giving up a bit more. I really want Syndergaard on the Twins, and this feels like a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make that happen..
    Acquire RP Daniel Bard from Rockies for LHP Cade Povich
    David Robertson is the biggest prize among deadline relief rentals, and that means someone's gonna have to grossly overpay for him. That might also be true of Bard, who's probably the second-best closer among impending free agents, but less so. As great as he was in the first half for Colorado, Bard can't escape the shadow of his track record, which includes a seven-year break from the major leagues after he got the yips in his late 20s and lost the strike zone. 
    That history is out of sight, with Bard back to dominating this year behind triple-digit heat ... but it's not out of mind. Last year he posted a 5.21 ERA out of the Rockies bullpen with the same top-notch fastball velo. He's the definition of a volatile asset. And giving up Povich – a third-rounder from last year's draft, averaging 12.1 K/9 at High-A ball and Twins Daily's #10-ranked prospect in the organization – for such a volatile short-term asset is a tough pill to swallow. But with the competition for back-end bullpen arms, it may take something like that. 
    It's worth it to get the high-impact late-inning weapon that the Twins need to protect and complement Jhoan Duran. But I'm not stopping there.
    Acquire RP Matt Moore from Rangers for INF Edouard Julien and RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long
    The Rangers hit gold on their spring signing of Moore to a minor-league deal, seeing him blossom in a full-time relief role with a 1.61 ERA, 2.57 FIP, and 10.1 K/9 rate in 44 ⅔ innings through 33 appearances. 
    Just like with Bard, the Twins would be buying high on a veteran impending free agent with a wobbly track record, but as in that case, the metrics fully back up his excellence up to this point. The lefty Moore has been extremely effective, and could bring much-needed length to a bullpen that's been leaned on heavily. Moore has recorded more than three outs in more than half of his appearances for Texas (17) including two full innings in 13 of them.
    Julien and Gipson-Long are both intriguing players having good seasons in the 15-20 range of Minnesota's top prospect list. The Rangers would likely be very happy to get this kind of future capital in exchange for a flier they snagged on a minor-league deal.
    Acquire LHP Rich Hill from Red Sox for 1B Miguel Sano
    Okay, I'm trying to think creatively with this shot in the dark. The Twins are clearly ready to move on from Sano, so I tried to figure out a scenario where trading him might be remotely plausible. I can't see anyone giving up a prospect for him, but this feels like kind of a "why not" move for both sides.
    The slumping Red Sox – now in last place! – are longshots to make the playoffs. They need a huge spark to go on a run and overcome the many other wild-card contenders in the American League. They're not going to get that from Hill, a back-of-rotation starter who's currently rehabbing from a knee injury and expected to return in early August. But let's say Sano hits a couple homers over the next week and inspires some small belief that he could come in and bang the ball over the Green Monster for a couple months. The Twins pay off half of Sano's remaining ~$5M commitment so the money is basically a wash.
    Hill is not an ace that's going to turn around the staff's fortunes or anything, but he could be useful for the Twins down the stretch and into the playoffs. He's pitched reasonably well this year (102 ERA+, 1.29 WHIP in 70.2 IP) and has familiarity here from the 2020 season. The 42-year-old would probably appreciate the opportunity to go to a more legitimate contender for what might be his last chance for a championship run.
    Acquire C Kurt Suzuki, Tucker Barnhart, Austin Hedges, or otherwise for PTBNL
    The Twins need a dependable veteran catcher to bridge the gap until Ryan Jeffers returns. The above are examples of of no-hit, glove-first guys who are impending free agents on teams going nowhere. They'll be available for nothing of consequence, so I don't even feel the need to hypothesize a return, but it's definitely something they need to get done.
    The End Result
    By carrying out the plan above, the Twins would address three key needs -- the rotation, the bullpen, and backup catcher -- without giving up any truly indispensable prospects, although they would be parting with a quantity of good young talent.
    Syndergaard joins Gray and Ryan atop the rotation to form a viable postseason core. Hill could become part of that picture if he throws well, otherwise simply provides some innings down the stretch. Bard and Moore power up the bullpen significantly, pushing Griffin Jax and Caleb Thielbar into seventh-inning roles, and the rest of the questionables (Tyler Duffey, Emilio Pagan, Joe Smith, etc.) into lower-leverage middle relief or possibly even DFAs.
    You can quibble with the specifics, but the overarching thought is that the Twins avoid giving up critical assets by aiming lower than the top names on the market (but not much lower) and not targeting additional years of team control. For me, that's the perfect deadline approach. 
    What are your thoughts on this plan? Are the prices I've laid out too light? Too steep? What would you do? Sound off in the comments!

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  15. Like
    Nick Nelson got a reaction from PopRiveter in Week in Review: Back in Business   
    Personally I'd give him the full month of August with semi-regular playing time to prove himself. If he hasn't shown you convincingly by the start of September he can play a valuable role, DFA him and move on with your postseason group.
  16. Like
    Nick Nelson reacted to Doctor Gast in Trade Deadline Primer Excerpt: Kansas City Royals   
    Thanks Nick, always enjoy your articles. KC has a very good BP as does DET but I don't see it worth it to pursue trading with them inter-divisional. The rest of the group I'm not interested to pursue.
    I think there are better RPs out there. But if everything falls apart and KC or DET are the only ladies available, I'd dance with them.
  17. Like
    Nick Nelson got a reaction from bighat in Week in Review: Back in Business   
    Personally I'd give him the full month of August with semi-regular playing time to prove himself. If he hasn't shown you convincingly by the start of September he can play a valuable role, DFA him and move on with your postseason group.
  18. Like
    Nick Nelson got a reaction from USAFChief in Week in Review: Back in Business   
    Byron Buxton and Luis Arraez did their thing at the All-Star Game, while the rest of the Twins got a full five days off in the middle of the season before returning – with gusto! – in Detroit.
    The lack of meaningful action didn't mean a lack of injury news (including a Buxton-related development), nor did it silence the buzz and speculation as a crucial trade deadline looms.
    Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 7/18 through Sun, 7/24
    ***
    Record Last Week: 2-0 (Overall: 52-44)
    Run Differential Last Week: +12 (Overall: +40)
    Standing: 1st Place in AL Central (3.0 GA)
    Last Week's Game Results:
    Game 95 | MIN 8, DET 4: Twins Come Out of Break with Convincing Win
    Game 96 | MIN 9, DET 1: Bats Break Out Late to Complete Short Sweep
    NEWS & NOTES
    Miguel Sanó's rehab stint concluded with a bang in St. Paul on Saturday, when the slugger went 3-for-3 with a walk and home run to round out a 12-game stretch between rookie ball and Triple-A in which he slashed .333/.422/.795 with five home runs. 
    He's ready for another shot. Are the Twins inclined to give it to him?
    For all their pitching troubles, the Twins have been pretty well set offensively and don't have an obvious opening in the lineup (or even on the roster) for Sanó. If they want to accommodate his return, they can probably use him semi-regularly at first base or DH while dropping Gilberto Celestino from the bench. An IL move for Max Kepler, who came out of Sunday's game, would also create room.
    I suspect one of those things will happen when the deadline for a decision arrives on Tuesday, because the long-stagnating Twins need a spark that he's uniquely equipped to provide. Still, it's no guarantee we'll see Sanó in a Twins uniform again. There's a very realistic chance they DFA him or trade him for peanuts and move on.
    Ahead of their game in Detroit on Saturday, the Twins placed Caleb Thielbar on the injured list with a hamstring strain and recalled right-hander Yennier Canó. It sounds like Thielbar got hurt in the last game before the break, and the team hoped he'd have enough time off to be ready for action, but that wasn't the case. He's a sneaky big loss in this bullpen because Thielbar has vastly out-pitched his underwhelming ERA.
    We also learned on Saturday that Byron Buxton would miss the entire Detroit series after receiving a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection in his right knee on Wednesday to aid healing. The timing is interesting, as it suggests Buxton and the Twins decided to delay this planned procedure until after his All-Star Game appearance. 
    That decision exposed his knee to further risk in an exhibition, while potentially costing him one or more meaningful games for the Twins, who are guarding a pretty narrow lead in the AL Central. But it also meant giving Buck an opportunity to go to Los Angeles and showcase himself as a star – boy did he.
    HIGHLIGHTS
    If you had to succinctly explain why Buxton and Luis Arraez were in the All-Star Game on Tuesday, it would be this: Buxton has been the king of game-changing home runs, and Arraez has been the king of finding his way on base. 
    They both brought these qualities out on the national stage.
    Buxton earned MVP consideration by hitting the go-ahead homer following a game-tying two-run blast from the actual MVP, Giancarlo Stanton. It was a classic showing of Buxton's incredible quick-twitch ability, as he turned on a fastball at his eyes from Tony Gonsolin and launched it for a no-doubter. 
    Arraez's big moment in the All-Star Game was not as flashy as Buxton's, but no less indicative of his strengths as a player. After very uncharacteristically striking out on three pitches in his first plate appearance, Arraez came up against fireballing Cardinals reliever Ryan Helsley, who had a 0.69 ERA and held opponents to a .109 average in the first half. Helsley had struck out 57 batters in 39 innings.
    Arraez fell behind 0-2 in the count. He then flicked away two fastballs, clocked at 103 and 101 MPH. On the next pitch, Helsley came with a curveball – a pitch he'd thrown 52 times this year without giving up a hit. Arraez stroked it into right field for a single. You can't make it up.
    Staying on brand, Arraez opened his second half with a three-hit game in Detroit – his 10th of the season – and he added another hit and walk on Sunday. He's slashing .341/.413/.445. 
    Arraez opened the scoring in Saturday's eight-run outburst from the offense, which served as a nice palette cleanser after the Twins were shut out by Chicago to close out the first half. Carlos Correa joined the festivities by hitting a home run and nearly adding another (Akil Badoo made a nice play at the wall.)
    The runs kept pouring in on Sunday, with the bats breaking out late in a 9-1 laugher. José Miranda collected three hits to lead the way as Minnesota took advantage of poor pitching and defense from the last-place Tigers.
    Having started the opener in the first half, it was only fitting for Joe Ryan to start the first game of the second half. He looked as good Saturday as he did on Opening Day, holding the Tigers to one run over 5 ⅔ innings with seven strikeouts. The righty improved to 7-3 with a 2.89 ERA – the Twins have gone 10-5 in his starts.
    Equally encouraging, if not more so, was Sonny Gray's effort the following day. The veteran's slump heading into the break was a major concern, but Gray was in frontline form on Sunday – albeit against a very bad team. He struck out seven and allowed two hits over six frames.
    I am of the opinion that the Twins need to add one more starter at or above the level of Ryan and Gray in order to be a viable threat in the postseason. But at the very least, they'll need those two pitching like they're capable of. This series in Detroit was a very good sign on that front. We'll see if they can keep it going with tougher competition ahead.
    LOWLIGHTS
    The Twins might have come out of the break with a couple of convincing wins, but that wasn't gonna stop the bullpen from rearing its ugly head. 
    Minnesota's massive lead on Saturday was mildly threatened in the eighth as Detroit mounted a three-run rally against Jovani Moran and Trevor Megill, who were both extremely wild. For as good as Moran – and to a lesser extent Megill – has looked at times, their frequent lapses into the no-control zone make them impossible to trust as high-leverage relievers down the stretch, or especially into the playoffs.
    Even on Sunday, when the bullpen seemingly had a very good showing with one hit allowed over three scoreless innings, the process was hardly impressive. Griffin Jax, Jharel Cotton and Joe Smith combined to strike out zero of 10 batters faced while inducing just two swings and misses (both from Jax) on 39 pitches. That's not a good formula for getting results, especially against better teams.
    The glaring inadequacy of this bullpen is too stark to ignore, even on good days like the past couple. 
    TRENDING STORYLINE
    The big focus from now until August 2nd will be the trade market. I wrote last week about the deceivingly complicated decision facing the Twins as the deadline approaches – a first-place team that needs to make additions, but may not be in the best position for an aggressive push given the extent of those needs.
    We'll likely begin to see some trade activity fire up in the coming week, although the majority of big moves will shake out in the 48 hours or so leading up the deadline next Tuesday. Will the Twins front office strike early? 
    LOOKING AHEAD
    Minnesota's midsummer respite extends into a light first week following the All-Star break, with two off days bookending a two-game series in Milwaukee. Good news for Buxton as he works back from the PRP injection. From there it's off to San Diego for three games against Taylor Rogers and the Padres. 
    This next week will be a good test for the well-rested Twins, with five games against very strong NL opponents. I'll be in San Diego to catch a couple of the weekend games at Petco Park, and am very excited to cross that stadium off my list! 
    TUESDAY, 7/26: TWINS @ BREWERS – RHP Dylan Bundy v. TBD
    WEDNESDAY, 7/27: TWINS @ BREWERS – RHP Chris Archer v. RHP Corbin Burnes
    FRIDAY, 7/29: TWINS @ PADRES –  RHP Joe Ryan v. LHP Blake Snell
    SATURDAY, 7/30: TWINS @ PADRES – RHP Sonny Gray v. RHP Joe Musgrove
    SUNDAY, 7/31: TWINS @ PADRES – RHP Dylan Bundy v. LHP Sean Manaea

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  19. Like
    Nick Nelson got a reaction from SwainZag in The Twins Face a Deceivingly Complicated Decision at the Trade Deadline   
    What an utterly bizarre interpretation of what I said. The original point was that it would be devastating to lose 9 years of Byron Buxton for a handful of starts from Syndergaard based on the completely implausible notion that he would've been the difference between getting swept or winning the World Series in 2019.
    Steering this conversation back to the real world, what is the last example of a team trading for an "ace" at the deadline and winning the World Series largely because of it?
  20. Like
    Nick Nelson got a reaction from SwainZag in The Twins Face a Deceivingly Complicated Decision at the Trade Deadline   
    Here's the part where I obligatorily remind people that the Twins played three playoff series with Johan Santana as their #1 starter and won zero of them. 
  21. Like
    Nick Nelson got a reaction from SwainZag in The Twins Face a Deceivingly Complicated Decision at the Trade Deadline   
    The Twins scored 2 runs in the second game and 1 run in the third. No amount of pitching was going to carry them through that series against a great Yankees lineup. Ditto the next year against Houston.
    It's a fanciful scenario you've concocted though, I'll give you that!
    Having a true ace makes a difference in the playoffs. It's just not everything. Frankly a star two-way player like Buxton is quite a bit more important -- thus the irony of your OP. And Syndergaard wasn't pitching like a "true ace" at that point anyway.
  22. Like
    Nick Nelson got a reaction from SwainZag in The Twins Face a Deceivingly Complicated Decision at the Trade Deadline   
    Well that wouldn't have happened because:
    1: Syndergaard was terrible down the stretch (6.69 ERA in his last 7 starts) likely because his elbow wasn't quite right (had TJ surgery at the beginning of 2020).
    2: One pitcher wasn't going to be the difference between getting decisively swept in the ALDS and winning the World Series.
    Like, we don't have to hypothesize here, we have actual evidence. If the Twins had made that trade they'd now be without Buxton and without Syndergaard, and with nothing of substance to show for it. Maybe they win a single game in the first round of the playoffs. You'd take that?
    This is my struggle with these "go all-in at the deadline" conversations. There's such a tendency to fantasize about some grand exaggerated impact, while completely downplaying the repeatedly proven risks and downsides.  
  23. Like
    Nick Nelson got a reaction from SwainZag in The Twins Face a Deceivingly Complicated Decision at the Trade Deadline   
    Again: no one is denying that they should (and will) get pitching help. The complicated question being addressed is how aggressive they should be and how much they should be willing to sacrifice to improve their chances this year.
    As for Jeffers, he ranks second to Polanco in OPS at the past month at 868. Meanwhile Gary Sanchez is at 578 during that span and Caleb Hamilton has never played in the majors. Not to mention the extreme defensive drop-off. You are underrating the severity of this loss.
  24. Like
    Nick Nelson got a reaction from jorgenswest in The Twins Face a Deceivingly Complicated Decision at the Trade Deadline   
    I could buy this as a (rare) example but the Astros also had a winning postseason record in games not started by Verlander. There were also ... other factors than Verlander contributing to their success in that postseason. But he did pitch very well, as a first-ballot Hall of Famer will do. Of course, he didn't cost them a Byron Buxton. 
    Ironically I happen to think Syndergaard is a really interesting target THIS deadline for the Twins. He's having an underwhelming season with the Angels, kinda like Verlander was for Detroit in '17, but there's another level in him.
  25. Like
    Nick Nelson got a reaction from umterp23 in The Twins Face a Deceivingly Complicated Decision at the Trade Deadline   
    Again: no one is denying that they should (and will) get pitching help. The complicated question being addressed is how aggressive they should be and how much they should be willing to sacrifice to improve their chances this year.
    As for Jeffers, he ranks second to Polanco in OPS at the past month at 868. Meanwhile Gary Sanchez is at 578 during that span and Caleb Hamilton has never played in the majors. Not to mention the extreme defensive drop-off. You are underrating the severity of this loss.
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