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  1. 1. He has four legitimate pitches...and maybe a fifth Woods-Richardson boasts a traditional fastball, slider, curveball, changeup pitch mix and delivers them all from an overhead release point. His fastball typically sits 91-93 mph but can touch the mid-90s on occasion and features late tailing action that rides in on right-handed batters. His slider sits in the upper-70s to low-80s and features good horizontal motion with a tight spin. While the pitch will likely not be among the league's elite, it's good enough to strike batters out and induce weak contact. The curveball sits in the low-70s with a good 12-6 break, though on occasion, it tilts in the 1-7 direction. While Woods-Richardson's fastball is arguably his best pitch, his curveball might be his second-best or at least has the potential to be. Finally, Woods-Richardson's changeup sits in the low-80s with good tailing action that plays exceptionally well off his fastball. Even on his bad days, his changeup frequently catches opposing batters off guard and sends them flailing. Although he doesn't deploy it very often, there's some evidence to suggest that Woods Richardson may also be working on a cutter, though it may be just a miss-thrown slider. Suppose the cutter development is an actual, tangible pitch. In that case, Woods-Richardson may have five MLB-caliber pitchers in his arsenal, which is not something many pitchers can say, regardless of level. 2. He's only 20-years-old This one is pretty self-explanatory. Woods-Richardson was selected in the second round of the 2018 draft by the New York Mets and later traded to the Jays as the centerpiece of the Marcus Stroman deal. He's already pitched in 44 games in his minor league career and owns a 4.09 ERA and a FIP around 3.00. Almost 44% of his innings have come at High-A or above. 3. Walks have never been an issue of his until his last five starts Before the 2021 season, Woods-Richardson posted BB/9 numbers of 3.18, 1.95, and 2.22 at rookie ball, Low-A, and High-A, respectively. This season, this walk rate has ballooned to 5.16, though the vast majority of his free passes have come over his last five starts. So, is Woods-Richardson's control more like what he displayed for most of his minor league career or what he has done over his last handful of starts? That's the critical question when projecting Woods-Richardson's potential. His strikeout numbers have always been stellar, but if his command remains iffy, he may never reach his No. 2 or 3 starter ceiling. Luckily, as previously mentioned, he's young and has plenty of time to iron out this wrinkle in his game. While his motion is relatively fluid, it features long movements - such as a significant stride and trebuchet arm action - which increases the likelihood of mechanical breakdown and pitch inaccuracy. In many ways, his motion is similar to that of Jordan Balazovic, who also struggles with command from time to time. If the Twins can tighten up his delivery, even if just a skosh, it may improve his command enough for him to reach his full potential. 4. His peripheral numbers suggest he's been even better than his track record suggests While Woods-Richardson's ERA currently sits at 5.76 and his career number is, as previously mentioned, 4.09, his FIP numbers paint a completely different story. FIP's goal as a statistic is to project how a pitcher would perform if he had a league-average defense behind him. The stat aims to neutralize the impact of one's supporting cast on their pitching stats in an attempt to conclude how effective a pitcher truly is. Woods-Richardson's ERA is 5.76, which suggests his performance has been lacking. However, his FIP is 3.78, which indicates that he's been pretty good, especially for a 20-year-old at Double-A. Before this season, Woods-Richardson had posted FIPs of 2.07, 2.53, and 2.46 at rookie ball, Low-A, and High-A, respectively, compared to ERAs of 0.00, 4.25, and 2.54. In short, he's always been pretty good since getting drafted. 5. He's an Olympian Woods-Richardson, along with future teammate and fellow new Twin Joe Ryan, is playing on the United States Olympic Baseball team that is currently 2-0 and will soon face Japan in the tournament quarterfinals. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  2. DH Nelson Cruz to Rays for RHPs Joe Ryan and Drew Stotman Many of the Twins' moves project to have positive results. On an expiring contract, Nelson Cruz was dealt for two pitchers that are close to big-league ready. There are plenty of questions about the team’s rotation for 2022, so adding two more pitchers to the mix can only help the organization’s pitching depth. The Cruz deal was far from the only one that made headlines. RHP Jose Berrios to Blue Jays for SS/OF Austin Martin and RHP Simeon Woods-Richardson José Berríos was dealt for a pair of top-100 prospects, which seems like a high price to pay for just over a year of Berríos. The Dodgers traded for starting pitcher Max Scherzer and shortstop Trea Turner and received a similar trade package in return. Even the website, Baseball Trade Values believes the Blue Jays overpaid. LHP J.A. Happ to Cardinals for RHP John Gant and LHP Evan Sisk Speaking of teams that overpaid, the Twins found a taker for JA Happ, as the Cardinals were willing to trade for him. He’s been bad for most of the season, and his recent numbers don’t point to him improving. It seemed more likely for the Twins to designated him for assignment instead of finding a trade partner, but it was a crazy trade deadline, to say the least. RHP Hansel Robles to Red Sox for RHP Alex Scherff Robles, like Cruz, was on an expiring contract and plenty of contenders were looking for relief help. Minnesota signed Robles for $2 million this off-season and he's had some up-and-down moments as part of a Twins bullpen that has struggled for the majority of the season. Relief pitching can be fickle and Boston hopes Robles can find some of his previous successes. From Minnesota's perspective, the front office has to be happy to get any value back for a player that wasn't part of the team's long-term plans. Who Wasn't Traded? Not every part of the trade deadline was positive for the Twins. Minnesota had multiple players on expiring contracts that stayed with the team, including Michael Pineda and Andrelton Simmons. Pineda is the biggest head-scratcher as the trade market seemed hot for starting pitching. As the smoke cleared, the front office said the right things, but there doesn’t seem to be much value in keeping him around until season’s end. There were plenty of other rumors circulating on Friday, including some big names for the Twins. There was a chance of a Byron Buxton deal with multiple teams interested in the centerfielder. For good reasons, Minnesota’s price was likely high, and there will still be an opportunity to revisit trades this winter. There may also be a chance to revisit a contract extension with Buxton, especially with the young core the organization has built in the minor leagues. Another missed opportunity was parting ways with Josh Donaldson, as his name had been out in the rumor mill throughout the last few weeks. Minnesota signed Donaldson to his four-year deal, knowing that he may decline toward the backend of the contract. He has been relatively healthy this year and producing as one of the league’s best third basemen. This trade deadline might have been his peak trade value, especially since it’s tough to imagine the Twins contending in 2022. Overall, this might go down as a franchise-altering day in Twins history. However, there were some missed opportunities along the way. Now it might be a couple of years before fans know if the team indeed won or lost the 2021 trade deadline. Do you think the Twins were winners or losers at the trade deadline? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  3. 1. Some felt Martin was the top player in last year's draft class. The Vanderbilt star ended up going to the Jays fifth overall, but plenty of outsiders (and I would imagine some insiders) viewed him as the best player available in the 2020 draft – both before and after it took place. CBS Sports had Martin ranked No. 1 on their board ahead of the draft, one spot ahead of Arizona State's Spencer Torkelson, who ended up going first overall to Detroit. Months later, when The Athletic's Keith Law put together his preseason top prospect rankings for 2021, he remarked: "The best prospect in the 2020 draft class slipped to the Blue Jays, who picked fifth." This appears to be a fairly common sentiment, and it's not hard to see why analysts and evaluators would be high on Martin's potential. He had a monster collegiate career, marked by standout athleticism, defensive versatility, steadily increasing power, and ridiculous bat-to-ball skills. (In his COVID-shortened junior year, he struck out twice in 69 plate appearances.) "This bat at a skill position is pretty unusual and gives him some MVP upside," said Law in his writeup. 2. Most prominent prospect publications now view him as the Twins' best prospect. In our recently released midseason top 30 prospects update, we had Royce Lewis ranked as Minnesota's top prospect, which reflects the industry consensus now that Alex Kirilloff has graduated. Some outlets still view it that way – MLB Pipeline has Lewis ahead of Martin, though it's close (No. 13 versus No. 16 in the overall top 100 rankings), and FanGraphs has Lewis ranked No. 32 compared to Martin at No. 59. That's one virtual tie, and one outlier. The rest of the big pubs view Martin more favorably than Lewis, and often by significant margins. Law's preseason rankings for The Athletic had Martin at No. 14, and Lewis at No. 46. (Law's updated midseason top 50 saw Martin move up to 12, with Royce not appearing.) Baseball America has Martin ranked 21st, and Lewis ranked 60th. Baseball Prospectus likes them both, but also gives Martin the edge: their preseason rankings had him at No. 22 with Lewis at No. 31, and the midseason top 50 bumped Martin up to 20 with Lewis sliding off. Said BP in their latest blurb on Martin: "There are too many ways he can provide value to a team for abject failure to be a possibility." It's difficult to assess the two in comparison right now. Martin is a 22-year-old getting his first taste of the majors at Double-A, whereas Lewis is out for this whole season and hasn't played since 2019. The bottom line is that they're both really high-caliber prospects and the Twins have a very healthy system with these two at the top. 3. He could end up filling one of several positions of uncertainty for the Twins. One of the most intriguing things about Martin is his defensive fit. Like Lewis, his future in the field is uncertain, but as with Royce, that's not because he's bad with the glove – quite the contrary. Martin can play several different positions well, which is surely something that drew the Twins to him. This year at Double-A, he has split time evenly between shortstop and center field. By the end of his career at Vanderbilt, he was playing primarily third base. Hmm... what are the most glaring positions of uncertainty for the Twins going forward? Well, there's center field, where Byron Buxton is heading into a walk year, and shaping up as an offseason trade candidate. Then there's shortstop, which is essentially unspoken for after Andrelton Simmons wraps his one-year deal. Oh, and let's not forget third base, where 34-year-old Josh Donaldson is a chronic injury risk and also could be shipped out next winter. Perhaps Martin's future is not as a full-timer at any one spot. The Twins love their flexibility, and it's probably not by accident that their top two position prospects embody such a quality. As R.J. Anderson wrote in Martin's pre-draft profile for CBS Sports: "A creative team could maximize his value by having him split time between the infield and the outfield, a la Whit Merrifield and Scott Kingery, among others." 4. He posted a .500 on-base percentage over 76 plate appearances in July for the Class-AA New Hampshire Fisher Cats. Martin's pro career got off to a bit of a slow start, but he's improved with each passing month. May: .265/.378/.353 June: .284/.402/.432 July: .296/.500/.352 Yes, you read that right: Martin reached base in 50% of his plate appearances this past month. Sandwiched in their was an appearance at the 2021 Futures Game, where he batted second and started at shortstop. You'll never guess: he reached base both times up. This speaks to Martin's offensive strengths. He's a natural-born lead-off hitter, with tremendous discipline, solid speed, and a knack for finding knocks. In his July slash line we also see Martin's biggest current shortcoming: the .352 slugging percentage – just one double and one triple in those 76 plate appearances. But the 22-year-old is still growing into his body and most scouts agree that power will come, and on-base skills like this are a lot rarer in today's game than slugging prowess. 5. He's the best minor-league talent the Twins have acquired in decades. I mean, time will tell whether this ACTUALLY proves to be true. But if you look at prospect rankings and available evidence when moves were made, it's hard to find a precedent for the Twins making an acquisition like this. The closest example would have to be Delmon Young, who was viewed as one of the best prospects in baseball before the Twins traded Matt Garza for him, but he'd already played a season and change in the big leagues. (Not a great precedent, obviously, but Martin and Young are polar opposites as players.) Outside of that, who would even qualify in this discussion? Carlos Gomez was the centerpiece of the Johan Santana package, and was highly regarded as a prospect but not on the level of Martin. (Gomez ranked No. 52 according to BA and No. 65 according to BP when the Twins acquired him, and also, he'd already played some in the majors.) How far back do you have to go to find a real comp for Martin? Back before the days of prospect rankings really even being a thing, I would think. The bottom line is, this organization has rarely ever brought in a prospect of this caliber because they've rarely been willing to do what it takes to land one. In Martin, the Twins added a true prize with legitimate franchise-altering potential. Now that's how you sell at the deadline. It doesn't take away the sting of losing a cherished fixture in Berríos, but makes it a whole lot easier to stomach. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  4. The Twins moved a key piece in José Berríos to the Toronto Blue Jays and received two high-profile prospects in return. They also made two lower-profile moves, including a surprising trade of underperforming JA Happ. I break it all down for you, piece by piece. Twins Trade Deadline Recap More Videos Next Up Trade Deadline Reactions 1:16:53 Live 00:00 19:59 19:59 More Videos Close facebook twitter Email pinterest Linkhttps://twinsdaily.com/index.html/minnesota-twins-news-rumors/video-twins-trade-deadline-recap-r11132/?do=edit&d=1&id=11132&jwsource=cl Copied
  5. The Twins are in St. Louis, and J.A. Happ will have to move from the road clubhouse to the home clubhouse. John Gant will turn 29 next week. He was originally the 21st round pick of the Mets out of high school in Florida. He began the season in the Cardinals starting rotation but moved to the bullpen. He is 4-6 with a 3.42 ERA. In 76 1/3 innings, he has walked 56 and struck out 56. Hence, his WHIP is at 1.57. Lefty Evan Sisk went to the College of Charleston with Bailey Ober. This season, he has split time between High-A and Double-A. Overall, he has pitched in 26 games. He has a 3.31 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP. In 32 2/3 innings, he has 20 walks and 46 strikeouts. That is the type of player that can be acquired for the 38-year-old Happ. In his 15th MLB season, he is 5-6 with a 6.77 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP. In 98 1/3 innings, he has given up 125 hits, walked 21 and struck out 77 batters. He had a near no-hitter early in the season, but has really struggled. He leads MLB in allowing barrels. While Gant isn't a prospect - he's been in the big leagues as far back as 2016 - this is a lottery ticket for the rest of the season. Clearly Gant has control and command issues, but he's got decent stuff. Dan Hayes reports that the Twins acquired John Gant from St. Louis in exchange for LHP J.A. Happ. How do you feel about this trade?
  6. Struggling Twins reliever Hansel Robles was moved moments before the close of the 2021 MLB trade deadline for Red Sox minor leaguer Alex Scherff. Scherff, a 23 year old right-hander, was drafted by the Red Sox in the fifth round of the 2017 MLB draft. Register Pitching Year Age AgeDif Tm Lg Lev Aff W L W-L% ERA RA9 G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP BK WP BF WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 SO9 SO/W 2021 23 2 Teams 2 Lgs A+-AA BOS 3 1 .750 2.45 3.07 23 0 15 0 0 4 29.1 22 10 8 1 13 0 46 2 0 3 127 1.193 6.8 0.3 4.0 14.1 3.54 2021 23 -1.8 Portland AANE AA BOS 1 0 1.000 1.35 2.70 6 0 3 0 0 1 6.2 5 2 1 0 2 0 9 0 0 0 28 1.050 6.8 0.0 2.7 12.2 4.50 2021 23 -0.4 Greenville HAE A+ BOS 2 1 .667 2.78 3.18 17 0 12 0 0 3 22.2 17 8 7 1 11 0 37 2 0 3 99 1.235 6.8 0.4 4.4 14.7 3.36 All Levels (3 Seasons) 10 18 .357 4.41 4.92 67 43 15 0 0 4 228.2 244 125 112 22 92 0 212 13 0 20 999 1.469 9.6 0.9 3.6 8.3 2.30 Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table Generated 7/30/2021. Robles signed with the Twins early last offseason as a free agent for just $2 million. He had a rough 2020, as many of us did. In 18 games with the Angels, Robles posted a 10.26 ERA and a 1.74 WHIP. In 2019, he had gone 5-1 with 23 saves, a 2.38 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. In 45 games with the Twins this year, he went 3-4 with ten saves, a 4.91 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP. He had his moments of good success and big-moment saves, but he walked 24 batters in 44 innings and was very inconsistent. Robles will be a free agent at the end of the season making it an easy decision to trade him if they got any return. The Twins were unable to trade fellow impending free agents Andrelton Simmons, Alexander Colome, and Michael Pineda. Likely the Twins received no offers for Simmons and Colome. However, one would think that the Twins could have received something, maybe even something of quality, for Michael Pineda. Whereas Robles received late-inning opportunities with the Twins, he is more likely to be used in middle relief, maybe in the sixth or seventh innings, for the Red Sox. Scherff isn't going to appear on top prospect rankings. However, the former fifth-round pick has had a nice year at two levels. And 46 strikeouts in 29 1/3 innings is very impressive. What do you think of this deal?
  7. Jose Berrios has been traded. There have been rumors and now there are confirmations. Jose Berrios will be joining the Toronto Blue Jays as they head back to Canada to play for the first time in a long time. No doubt Berrios will be missed. He is a leader, a two-time All Star, and competitor. In return, the Twins received highly-touted prospects, SS Austin Martin and RHP Simeon Woods-Richardson. Martin was the #5 overall pick in the 2020 draft out of Vanderbilt. Martin is a consensus Top 25 overall prospect in baseball. He should soon join the Wichita Wind Surge. He is ranked #21 by Baseball America and #16 by MLB Pipeline. Martin made his professional debut this year, and he has played in 55 games for Double-A New Hampshire. He has hit .281/.424/.383 (.807) with ten doubles, two triples and two home runs. He also has nine stolen bases. Woods-Richardson was traded two years ago from the Mets to the Blue Jays in the Marcus Stroman deal. The hard-thrower is currently in Tokyo with fellow newly-acquired Twins prospect Joe Ryan at the Olympics. He is ranked #68 by MLB Pipeline. He was the Mets second-round pick in 2018 out of high school in Texas. The 20-year-old is also at Double-A New Hampshire. He is 2-4 with a 5.76 ERA in 11 starts. Over 11 starts and 45 1/3 innings, he has walked too many (26) and struck out a ton (67, 13.3 K/9). On MLB Network, former GM Dan O'Dowd said, "In surplus value, the Twins won this deal. In present value, the Blue Jays get what they need." Once the Washington Nationals traded Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to the Dodgers on Thursday night, Berrios became the best pitcher on the trade market, and the Twins took advantage. The Blue Jays are working to stay in playoff contention in a division currently led by the Red Sox and Rays. They are also trying to keep up with the Yankees who have added sluggers Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo the past two days. A two-time All Star, Berrios will certainly help Toronto down the stretch and, the reason they got such a big return, will help them in 2022 as well. Are the Twins done??? Don't count on it! Story will be updated as we learn more information. You can also add to the story in the comments below.
  8. Please, calm down. I’m not at all saying Berríos is, today, similar to what Santana was when the Mets acquired him from Minnesota. Nor that he will be nearly as good as the Venezuelan. But bear with me, while I look at what those two deals have in common. Their role in the Twins After the 2007 season, Santana was already one of baseball’s greatest pitchers, if not the best one. Mentioning his accolades up until that moment has no use here. They couldn’t afford him, so they found themselves forced to trade him. Berríos, right now, may not be the ace Johan was, but he is certainly one of baseball’s most reliable arms. Especially, you know, health-wise. So far in his career, Berríos hasn’t had any serious injury that cost him relevant playing time. His injury history is immaculate. Minus 2016, the year he got called up for the first time, and 2020, the 60-game season, Berríos has logged at least 145 innings in each season of his career. He’s having career numbers this year, which indicates that he’s only getting better. So he may not be as talented as Santana, but he’s a solid piece of this rotation. A player who could easily be a number three starter for the vast majority of MLB teams. And, at 27, which is two years younger than Santana when he was dealt, you just have to assume he’s just entering his prime. What if they stayed? My main point here is this. What could’ve happened if the Twins could afford Santana and signed him to an extension? And what may happen if they decide to hold on to José now? Everything from now on will be hypothetical, so get ready for many ‘what ifs.’ When Minnesota traded Santana, they knowingly gave up on a two-time Cy Young Award winner, the best starter they had since… Blyleven? Viola in ‘91? Or the best one ever? You decide. If he had stayed, he would’ve made that phenomenal Twins team even better. After a disappointing 79-83 record in 2007, Minnesota went on to win at least 87 games in each of the following three seasons, including a 94-win season in 2010, capping a second consecutive AL Central title. However good they were, those teams could never get past the Yankees in their trips to the ALDS. How much closer to winning a World Series would that particular team be, had Santana stayed? No one will ever know. But I think it’s fair to assume they would have much, much better odds. In conclusion, trading away Johan, even though it was the only logical solution given the club’s financial reality at that point, undeniably made the Twins a worse team. With that being said, let’s shift to Berríos’ case now. Realistically speaking, the Twins are a much better team with him around. No pitcher within the organization brings to the table, today, the same productivity from Berríos. Kenta Maeda bounced back very nicely, but there’s no way he’s had a better season than José so far. If you’re not looking at the prospect of a two or three-year rebuilding process, there’s no way you trade Berríos now. Minnesota’s chances of having a competitive rotation in 2022 are not better at all with the absence of Berríos. Unless, of course, they pull a huge free agent signing during the winter, which is very unlikely. Let me repeat myself: Berríos is no ace (yet), and he doesn’t bring to the table the same as Santana 13 years ago. But if you keep him, adding one or two good free agent arms during the winter could turn this rotation around next year. If you don’t, you’re considerably further along. What is the big difference? Like I said before, the Twins had no alternatives but to trade Santana. Revenue wasn’t the same, so it’s understandable. What you can question is how bad the return for Santana was. That deal turned out to be one of the worst in club history. But, yeah, trading him was a must. On the other hand, that certainly doesn’t seem to be the same case with Berríos now. First, a contract extension to José wouldn’t be nearly as expensive. Twins Daily’s Ted Schwerzler believes that a Berríos contract would look similar to those of Luis Severino, Aaron Nola, and Lance McCullers, ranging around the $12-15M AAV and going for four or five years. We don’t know the complete picture of Minnesota’s financial reality, but that doesn’t seem like a very expensive ask. The aftermath While the return for Santana was suboptimal, sadly, the remainder of Santana’s career was severely affected by injuries. While still a fine pitcher and pitching an amazing 2008 season, he needed to go through two season-ending surgeries in 2009 and 2010, the latter one also removing him from the entirety of 2011. Again turning to hypotheticals, if he had been healthy in New York, watching him pitch at a high level for a different team could be somewhat similar to watch David Ortiz slug his way into the Hall of Fame in a Red Sox uniform. What aggravates Ortiz’s case is the fact that no one saw that coming, unlike Santana. Still, it wouldn’t feel nice. Thinking about the comparison with Berríos, how frustrating would it be to see him actually become an ace for a different team? Many Twins fans don’t consider him ace material up until now. But are you willing to bet money that this will never change? How certain are you that he won’t be one of the league’s top starters two or three years from now? Offering a more optimistic perspective: how amazing would it be if Berríos actually becomes an ace and the Twins had already locked him up long-term with a ‘bargain’ of $15M AAV? He would not only be the cornerstone of the Twins rotation, but he would also serve as a mentor to all the exciting arms coming up from the farm. Just picture, three years from now, a rotation containing Berríos and names like Josh Winder, Jordan Balazovic, Griffin Jax, and Bailey Ober. Assuming the financial aspect isn’t an issue, the only thing standing between Berríos and a future with the Twins is whether the club wants him around or not – unlike Santana. A haul in exchange for him would obviously look nice. But keeping him may potentially be even more profitable. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  9. Friday News and Rumors: Morosi: José Berríos WILL be traded today. Trade Deadline Intel from Aaron Gleeman We could be in for a busy day... Kyle Gibson Likely on the Move With this report, it certainly sounds like the San Diego Padres are MAJOR players in the José Berríos sweepstakes. The interesting angle with Gibson is that the Twins might not want to wait too long on a Berríos trade. If the Padres don't want to get left without a chair and pull the trigger on Gibson, the Twins could lose out on a potentially exciting offer from San Diego. Thursday News and Rumors: Chicago White Sox Trade For Cesar Hernandez and Ryan Tepera The first pair of trades of the day on Thursday came from the Minnesota Twins’ biggest rivals, the Chicago White Sox who traded for reigning gold glove second baseman, Cesar Hernandez and right-handed reliever, Ryan Tepera. While these moves didn’t have a direct impact on the Minnesota Twins in 2022, Hernandez has a club option for 2023 at $6M, so the Twins could be seeing plenty of Hernandez over the next year and a half should the Sox pick up that option. In acquiring reliever Ryan Tepera, the White Sox gave up their 23rd ranked prospect. Tepara owns a 3.23 ERA since the start of 2020 and is also on an expiring deal, so Twins fans shouldn’t expect the Twins to get a top prospect for Hansel Robles or Alexander Colomé should they choose to move either of them. New York Yankees Trade For Anthony Rizzo Just a day after trading for left handed slugger Joey Gallo, the New York Yankees stayed aggressive in adding another lefty in Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo owns a .792 OPS this season, but his left handed bat figures to play well in Yankee Stadium. From a Twins perspective, the biggest takeaway from the Yankees acquiring Rizzo is that the Yankees are looking to be aggressive at the trade deadline. They have been linked to José Berríos this week, but they could also have interest in other players such as Michael Pineda or Kenta Maeda as they sure look like they want to push for the playoffs this season. Los Angeles Dodgers Trade For Max Scherzer and Trea Turner The headliner deal of the day in the baseball world occurred when the Los Angeles Dodgers pulled off a blockbuster in acquiring multi-time Cy Young winner, Max Scherzer, along with all-star shortstop Trea Turner for a massive haul of prospects including Keibert Ruiz and Josiah Gray. After initial reports stated that Scherzer was going to be headed to San Diego, the Dodgers swooped in at the last minute to acquire the pair of stars from the Nationals. With Max Scherzer now off the trade market, José Berríos is far and away the biggest pitcher name left on the trade market. Additionally, with the Padres losing out on Max Scherzer and instead him signing with their division rivals, the Padres now figure to be extremely interested in Berríos and now under some pressure to perhaps overpay for him. Boston Red Sox Trade For Kyle Schwarber The trades kept coming on Thursday evening, when the Boston Red Sox traded for Nationals’ outfielder, Kyle Schwarber. This was a big acquisition for the Red Sox who are trying to maintain their lead in the loaded American League East. Similar to the Yankees, this move signaled to the baseball world that the Red Sox are all in, and has also been linked to the Minnesota Twins and José Berríos. Just how aggressive are the Red Sox going to be? San Diego Padres Trade For Daniel Hudson The final trade of the night came when the Nationals continued their sell off and traded reliever Daniel Hudson to the Padres for a low-end pitching prospect. More than 5 Teams are Interested in José Berríos Berríos has become THE name of the MLB trade deadline, with Ken Rosenthal reporting that at least 5 of MLB's contenders are interested in trading for the 2-time all-star. Seattle Mariners Pursued Trade for Berríos In addition to the 5 teams listed above, today we learned that the Seattle Mariners have pursued a trade for Berríos. Also included in the report is that Minnesota is asking for a top young starter. The headliner included in the report is Emerson Hancock who is MLB.com's #23 prospect. New York Mets Appear to Be OUT on Berríos Sweepstakes Many teams were reported to join the José Berríos sweepstakes today, but the reports made it sound as if the New York Mets are not in the mix for a Berríos trade. The New York Mets have a talented farm system with intriguing prospects such as Ronny Mauricio, but for now it appears they are not going to make a push. That can always change, though... What trades do you think will go down on deadline day? Leave a comment and start the conversation! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  10. The 2021 season was supposed to be a battle for AL Central supremacy between the Twins and White Sox. Instead, the Twins are languishing in last place with the fifth-worst record in baseball while Chicago is cruising to their first division title since 2008. What’s Their Situation? Currently owners of the fifth-best record in baseball, the White Sox have a commanding 9.5 game lead over Cleveland entering play on Wednesday. They are competing with the Red Sox Astros, Dodgers, and Giants for the best record in MLB. Perhaps more impressively, they have accomplished this working around significant injuries to the likes of Eloy Jiminez and Nick Madrigal. The White Sox are a lock for post-season play, now, their focus is on gearing up for a strong playoff run. What do They Need? Not a lot. The White Sox have the fifth-best offense in baseball right now, sporting a cumulative 113 wRC+. They have a strong front of the rotation between Carlos Rodon, Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito, and Dallas Keuchel. While Giolito and Keuchel have been, perhaps, a little disappointing, Rodon and Lynn form a formidable one-two punch in any playoff series. The White Sox could strengthen their bullpen for an October run. Currently the 13th best in baseball with the third-worst xFIP, there is a lack of depth behind Liam Hendriks. The other area of need for the Sox is strengthening their infield. Nick Madrigal had season-ending surgery on a torn hamstring, leaving a lack of depth up the middle after the perennially excellent Tim Anderson. Which Twins are the Best Fit? Infield depth and relief pitching may be the biggest needs the Twins could fill for the Southsiders. Andrelton Simmons would be a massive defensive upgrade. Despite 61 wRC+, Simmons has been worth 15 outs above average, good for second in all of baseball behind Nick Ahmed. With Taylor Rogers currently on the IL and reportedly seeking a second and potentially third opinion on his sprained middle finger, Tyler Duffey would be an option that would add depth to the Chicago bullpen. There’s no question Duffey has taken a step back this year, the most concerning seeing his K/9 numbers drop from 11.6 in 2020 to 7.3 in 2021. In spite of this, Duffey still sports a strong 3.20 ERA and doesn’t reach free agency until 2023, making him an appealing option for any team hoping to contend beyond this season. Who Could the Twins get Back? The White Sox system like the Twins has been weakened by a significant number of graduations. Andrew Vaughn, Nick Madrigal, Garrett Crochet, and Michael Kopech are all 2021 graduates, leaving the Sox as the only MLB team without a top 100 prospect. Any return for Simmons would fetch a C-level prospect and serve mainly to shed salary. Duffey would fetch a greater price but teams may be wary of his diminishing peripherals. Yolbert Sanchez, SS, AA Sanchez signed out of Cuba during the international free agency period in 19-20. His best tool is 60-grade defense which makes him a viable big-league shortstop or a quality utility infielder. Sanchez is a right-handed hitter who shows solid contact skills. Sanchez is currently sporting a .360 OBP over two minor league levels in 2021. Tyler Johnson, RHP, AAA Johnson was the closer for South Carolina in his collegiate career, signing as a fifth-round draft pick in 2017. In his first three seasons of pro ball, Johnson tallied 169 strikeouts in 115 innings and managed a 2.27 ERA. Johnson’s best pitch is his fastball, which can reach 98 mph. His inconsistent delivery and mechanics seem to impact the quality of his secondary pitches. His ceiling is a late-inning reliever in the majors. Kade McClure, RHP, AA McClure is a behemoth at 6’7 and best known for being the number two starter behind Brendan McKay at Louisville. McClure missed significant time in his first few pro seasons with injuries. Despite his height, he has a fastball that sits around 92 mph and excellent control, walking just 2.1 per nine innings in 2019. McClure profiles as a back-end starter with a similar makeup to Bailey Ober. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  11. The Minnesota-native, drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers, was released in December of 2010 and signed with the Twins on August 19th, 2011, after playing for the St. Paul Saints Much has been made about his return to the big leagues, (after a two-year stint with the Saints) but that’s overshadowed how effective he’s been in a Twins uniform. In the history of the Twins franchise, dating back to the inaugural season in 1961, Thielbar has the tenth best ERA of any pitcher who has thrown at least 150 innings in relief. Moreover, his FIP bumps him up to ninth on the list, yet he doesn’t get nearly the same fanfare of other recent Twins. He’s not the coveted new-age high-velocity pitcher, but he gets the job done and will undoubtedly have value on the trade market. As previously suggested, Thielbar’s fastball sits low 90’s, and he throws the pitch about 50-percent of the time while he flashes a sweeping slider and looping curveball for his second and third pitches, respectively. Thielbar is not an elite arm by any means, and teams won’t be clamoring over him to be their closer or even set up guy. But he brings value as a low to mid leverage reliever that can bridge the gap between the starter and the back end of the bullpen. Due to his age (34) and limited ceiling, teams won’t be giving up a lot for the lefty reliever, but one interesting thing to note is that Thielbar still has three years of team control after 2021. That’s to say that Thielbar isn’t just a rental but could be a solid piece for teams that look to be contenders for the foreseeable future, like the Padres and Dodgers, for years to come. In fact, I think a trade just completed on Thursday is nearly a perfect comp for what the Twins could look to net in a trade involving Caleb Thielbar. The Chicago Cubs sent 33-year-old right-hander Ryan Tepera to the Chicago White Sox for 23-year-old right-handed pitcher Bailey Horn. Horn was a fifth round pick in 2020 with limited success over 38 1/3 minor league innings. I think this is a pretty good idea of what the Twins would be looking at for Thielbar. A low-level, albeit top-30, prospect. Tepera doesn’t have the team control that Thielbar has, but I don’t know how much pull that has with a 34-year-old reliever. All that said, I know some of you are thinking the Twins could use him for years to come. So what do you say...should he stay or should he go?
  12. Below we will review the trades from Wednesday and how (or if) they have any impact on the Minnesota Twins. Oakland Athletics Trade For Starling Marte The first trade of the day came from the Oakland Athletics who acquired outfielder Starling Marte from the Miami Marlins in exchange for former top-100 pitching prospect Jesús Luzardo. While Starling Marte is an excellent talent, the overwhelming reaction from experts was that the A’s paid a big price for Marte, who is set to be a free agent at the end of the season. This is a big development for the Minnesota Twins who appear open to moving both Byron Buxton and Max Kepler. If Marte, an impending free agent, was able to fetch a big-time pitching prospect, then Max Kepler and Byron Buxton would seem to be able to fetch even more. Milwaukee Brewers Sign Eduardo Escobar The next major deal to take place on Wednesday came from the Milwaukee Brewers when they acquired former Twins infielder Eduardo Escobar in exchange for AAA catcher Cooper Hummel. In addition to the obvious Twins connection with Escobar changing teams, the mid-afternoon deal impacted the Twins by removing a potential Josh Donaldson buyer from the trade market. Earlier this week, MLB insider Jon Heyman reported that the Milwaukee Brewers had checked in on Josh Donaldson. Now that the Brewers have acquired their third baseman in Escobar, finding a potential trade partner for the Twins third baseman might be more difficult. New York Yankees Sign Joey Gallo To cap off a trade-filled day, the New York Yankees made a big move on Wednesday night when they acquired outfielder Joey Gallo from the Texas Ranges in exchange for a hefty package of minor league prospects. The trade had big ripple effects for the Minnesota Twins, as earlier in the day there were multiple reports linking the New York Yankees as a potential trade partner for Twins’ outfielder Max Kepler. Now that the Yankees traded for another outfielder in Gallo, Max Kepler’s odds of remaining with the Twins for the balance of 2022 increased. Continued José Berríos Trade Rumor Steam The smoke around a José Berríos trade hasn’t slowed down a bit as MLB insiders continue to report on interest and talk between contending teams and the Minnesota Twins for their ace starting pitcher. The big report today came from MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, reporting that the Padres lost out on Joey Gallo, but are prioritizing starting pitchers and speaking with the Twins regarding José Berríos. The list of teams interested in Berríos is long, but the Dodgers and Padres seem to be the teams most often linked to Berríos over the past couple of days. How do you think today's moves impacted the Minnesota Twins? Do you think José Berríos will be moved ahead of the deadline? How about other Twins players? Who will they trade? Leave a comment and start the conversation! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  13. What's Their Situation? Coming into the season, everyone expected the Dodgers and Padres to be battling it out for the NL Central crown, which has belonged to the Dodgers for eight consecutive seasons. To almost everyone's surprise, neither team is in first place, as the San Francisco Giants have been baseball's best team over the first 94 games of the season. Nonetheless, the Dodgers are only one game back from the division lead, four-and-a-half games ahead of the Padres, and their odds to make the playoffs are at 99.8-percent, according to Fangraphs. Moreover, they are currently the odds-on favorite to win the 2021 World Series, per Fangraphs and nearly every Sports Book. What Do They Need? The Dodgers are one of the best teams in baseball across the board but could benefit from adding some combination of multiple relievers and starters at the deadline. They've been without young phenom Dustin May, who was putting up Cy Young numbers through the first month of the season before needing Tommy John Surgery at the beginning of May, and it's likely they are down Trevor Bauer for the rest of the season as well. Adding to their list of unknowns, they placed future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw on the IL before the All-Star Break with elbow soreness. They have top-end bullpen arms in Kenley Jansen, Blake Treinen, Jimmy Nelson, not to mention getting solid production from Phil Bickford but could use another reliever to bridge the gap between their starters and the backend of their bullpen. I can't imagine adding offense will be much of a priority for the Dodgers, but adding a right-handed bat isn't out of the question as they have struggled against left-handed pitching. Which Twins Are The Best Fit? Theoretically, the Twins have arms that could fit the Dodgers need, but, unfortunately, those same guys are a big part of why the Twins are sellers at the 2021 deadline and likely wouldn't garner a lot of interest or return on investment. Alex Colomé, Hansel Robles, J.A. Happ, and Matt Shoemaker are the players referenced above, who are undoubtedly available. Still, their collective performance makes you wonder if they'll be DFA'd on August 1st rather than traded on July 31st. That brings us to the most valuable MLB-ready arms the Twins have: Michael Pineda, José Berríos, Taylor Rogers, and Tyler Duffey. Except for Michael Pineda, a free agent at the end of this season, the other three are all slated to enter free agency following the 2022 season. I'd even add the most under-appreciated Twins pitcher, 34-year-old Caleb Thielbar, to the list of trade candidates, especially considering he's cheap with three years of team control remaining. What Could the Twins Get Back? Despite their successes over the last eight years, they still have one of the better farm systems in all of baseball boasting three to four top-100 prospects depending on the source. I believe that the Twins need to retool in 2022 and be ready to compete again in 2023, so I'd like to see them add pieces that might be ready to contribute at that point. As previously pointed out, the Twins have a wide range of parts that could create a blockbuster deal all the way down to a deal that makes the bottom of the back page in the sports section. Josiah Gray, RHP, 23yo - up until 2018 Gray was a shortstop but has since transitioned to pitching and sports a 2.41 ERA and a 10.4 K/9 over 200 minor league innings. Despite the 2020 season mainly being a loss for Minor Leaguers, Gray did well enough at the alternate site to be added to the Dodgers playoff bubble roster, although he never pitched an inning. He's a top-100 guy across the board and would likely require Berríos plus one of Rogers or Duffey to make his way to the Twins organization. Michael Busch, Util, 23yo - although he's played primarily at second with the Dodgers, he has experience at first and in the outfield from his time at the University of North Carolina. He was drafted 31st overall in 2019 but almost immediately broke his hand on a hit-by-pitch making 2021 his first real season as a pro. From Keith Law in February of 2021: "...his hit tool gives him the chance to become an All-Star," and he goes on to say "...could be an impact regular even just as a walks/power guy, but I think he's going to hit for average as well." Busch is another top-100 guy across the board and would likely require a significant package to grab him from the Dodgers. Oh, and he is from Inver Grove Heights and was a three-sport star at Simley High School. Bobby Miller, RHP, 22yo Andre Jackson, RHP, 25yo Mitch White, RHP, 26yo I group these guys because they are at least a tier lower than the Gray and Busch, have their own flaws, but also have reasons they can contribute to the Twins soon. Miller is the Twins prototype mid-high 90's fastball with a slider that needs work along with his command of the zone. Jackson was a two-way player in college who needs more seasoning as a pitcher and is already 25-years-old and thus would be cheaper while offering a decent ceiling. White is another Twins prototype and, when he's healthy, which is an issue, he's been good and has been a decent arm for the Dodgers this year.
  14. What's Their Situation? When writing the title for this article, I thought to add a question mark after the word "Mariners." Such a thing would have served two purposes. The first would have reflected the surprise some may have when they realize that the Seattle Mariners are in wild card contention (1.0 games out as of Tuesday morning), with the second being the enigmatic future of the team. Will they buy? Will they sell? Quite honestly, I am not even sure that Jerry Dipoto knows. On Tuesday, they swung their first major deal in an odd swap with the Astros that, according to Dipoto, will make sense once all of their planned deals have been completed. The team was also in on Adam Frazier before San Diego, as per usual, swooped in to pick him up. In the dead of night on Tuesday, Tyler Anderson was swiped from under the Phillies nose. Knowing Dipoto’s love of deals, we are in for some truly wild stuff. What Do They Need? Bats, and a lot of them. The team has just a 91 wRC+ as a whole as their team batting average infamously dipped below the Mendoza line for a portion of the year. They have somewhat rebounded as their wRC+ since the start of June is 100, but holes still exist at significant positions. Second base has been a particularly nasty position for them as either Dylan Moore or Shed Long Jr. have participated there this season with little success. They also have no significant prospects at the position. Beyond that, there is no real clear-cut need in the lineup. Many of the Mariners' position players are either in flux due to injuries or are just warming the spot of a significant prospect. Even with their poorly performing players, I find it challenging to put together a trade because the team is in such a major transition. Perhaps they usurp one of those prospects with an unexpected deal, but I do not see that happening. Again, I must stress that nothing is out of question with Dipoto, to the point that them bringing in Miguel Sanó or Max Kepler would not be out of the question. Their starting rotation, however, is more apparent as a point of concern. Yusei Kikuchi has been outstanding, and Logan Gilbert looks to be the real deal, but the rest is uninspiring. Chris Flexen is hilariously overperforming, Marco Gonzales has regressed, and Justin Dunn and Justus Sheffield have been flimsy during their time in the majors. They have prospects to fill these spots, but most of them will not be ready until 2022 or beyond. They did fill a need by acquiring Anderson. Which Twins Are The Best Fit? In a beautiful twist, the best fit may be an ex-Mariner. Michael Pineda would be a consistent presence in a rotation full of youthful arms. He could provide the exact type of 5-6 inning guarantee that few other pitchers on their roster can promise. Depending on the price, the team may add him for a more negligible cost than what other, more major names may net. A shocking trade for José Berríos may not be out of play. The Mariners have well learned that pitching prospects are far from promises, and Jerry Dipoto is an absolute madman, so a move for an established arm could be in their plans. Still, Berríos looks to depart after 2022, and that kind of uncertainty will probably turn off a team looking towards the future. If you squint hard enough, then a surprising deal for Luis Arraez also may be in the cards. The second base position has been a black hole for the team, and they could use a long-term player with the ability to play third as Kyle Seager is unlikely to return following the end of the season. The team knows this as well-they tried to acquire Frazier, as mentioned earlier, and other second baseman have been connected to them Still, the Twins' asking price for Arraez and the Mariners' willingness to meet that mark are probably on two separate continents. Beyond them, the team may look to add a bullpen depth piece like Tyler Duffey. Originally I had written Hansel Robles in here as well, but his performance on Tuesday reflects a player who is anything but valuable. Do you like pitching prospects? Good. Their top 7 or so prospects are likely untouchable, but beyond them, they have: Wyatt Mills: A 26-year-old pure reliever with enough funk to make George Clinton proud. Eric Longenhagen wrote that Mills' "combo of repertoire depth (though he's been exclusively fastball/slider so far in the big leagues) and command are both rare for a reliever." Yes, a pure reliever prospect is not the most exciting option, but he would satisfy a desperate need. Sam Carlson: A 22-year-old Minnesota boy with upside. Carlson is almost entirely unknown as a prospect as a combination of Tommy John surgery and an absent minor league season in 2020 forced him to go four years between throwing a pitch in a professional setting. In any case, Carlson's pedigree as a 2nd round pick reflects an arm with potential. Matt Brash: A more typical hard-throwing righty with quality stuff. Brash is a prototypically modern pitching prospect who possesses great ability with questionable command. If he reigns it in, he's an All-Star; if not, he's a reliever. He can be yet another lotto ticket in the Twins farm. Review: Quite frankly, a trade with the Mariners made much more sense a week ago-when this article was first written. The Cruz trade and the Anderson deal have thrown any predictions out the window. All I can really say now is "be prepared for something weird from this team." The Mariners are genuinely in the great unknown as a team. All signs point towards them selling, but their record so far has gifted them a chance to become soft buyers in the hope that other franchises crash and burn around them. Players like Duffey, Pineda, and potentially Robles may be of interest to them. The partnership is certainly odd, but it would not be all too surprising if the two teams find a way to make a deal with each other. Remember, the Twins did trade Zach Duke to the Mariners in 2018, so a prior relationship does exist.
  15. The Twins made their first big move sending Nelson Cruz to Tampa Bay in exchange for two pitching prospects. There were reports over the weekend that Byron Buxton won't be signing a contract extension with the club and rumors of willingness to listen on team-controlled players such as Jose Berrios, Taylor Rogers, and Max Kepler. So, where do we go from here? We're going to start with the players on expiring contracts. Trade Andrelton Simmons to the Reds for SS Gus Steiger. Steiger, who is from Minnetonka and played collegiately at South Dakota State, signed with the Reds as an undrafted free agent in 2020 and would provide organizational depth in Fort Myers. The Twins would send no cash in the deal, leaving the Reds on the hook for the remaining $3.5 million on Simmons' contract. Trade Michael Pineda to the Astros for P Misaell Tamarez. Tamarez has less than 75 professional innings under his belt and has a walk rate over six, but he also strikes out more than a hitter per inning and has some ceiling. Tamarez would join the Fort Myers staff, where he could start or relieve. The Twins would get all of next year to evaluate Tamarez before deciding whether or not to add him to the 40-man roster. Pineda has $3.4 million left on his contract, which the Astros would pick up. I'd also expect Big Mike to be back with the Twins on a two-year deal this offseason. Trade Hansel Robles to the Red Sox for RP Durbin Feltman. Boston will give up Feltman, who may help in a bullpen someday, for Robles, who will help them in the bullpen for the rest of the year. Robles is owed less than $700,000 for the remainder of the year. Feltman, who has seen his velocity dip since turning pro in 2018, is the type of prospect on who the Twins could take a chance. If they can unlock some of that lost velocity, there is a chance he could be added to the 40-man when first eligible this upcoming offseason. Trade J.A. Happ to the Phillies for a PTBNL or cash. Happ broke into the big leagues with Philadelphia in 2007 and can provide rotational depth. The return for Happ would likely be a little bit of cash to offset his contract. He's still owed just shy of $3 million. The Twins would stay on the hook for almost all of that. The only other impending free agent is Alex Colome, who has been bad this year. If there's a team interested, he could be had for a meager price. Even if the Twins pay the remainder of his salary, the return will be low… in fact, it would be a win if someone else would be responsible for buying out his option. Before going on to the next - and definitely more debatable - part, one thing that needs to be discussed (because it will get a lot of consideration) is the 40-man roster. Except for Drew Strotman, none of the actual or projected returns to this point include someone on the 40-man roster. The Twins also have five players on the 60-day IL that will need to be activated this offseason. Now, granted, the roster has several fringe-40-man players that can be removed, but the organization has to be very careful about the position they put themselves in with acquiring players. Part of the reason Tampa Bay was ok giving up two of their top prospects for Cruz likely had to do with the crunch they were going to face this offseason. (They probably would have lost Strotman on outright waivers.) Just by my quick estimation, there are eight players (seven pitchers!) that I think are more likely to get added to the 40-man than not either later this season or in the offseason. If the Twins are going to rebuild, they would be wise to acquire prospects who are at least a year away from needing to be added to the 40-man roster. Whatever Taylor Rogers did to his finger last night puts his status on the trade market in question. If healthy - and if I were calling the shots - I would have him very available. But for this exercise, he will remain with the Twins. I'm not going to trade Josh Donaldson either. My stance would be that I would make him available, but I want a fair prospect return. The money complicates that. The Twins, in my opinion, will move Donaldson if someone is willing to take on the remainder of his contract. That will minimize the return. Josh Donaldson is too good of a baseball player just to give away. I'll listen on Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco, but I don't see either getting moved. Kenta Maeda as well. For an overpay, I'd move every one of them. Now for the big dogs… Not only do I think Byron Buxton will not be moved, I believe a whirlwind Trade Deadline Week is going to be capped off with a Byron Buxton extension. Maybe it won't be Friday because the front office will be busy. But soon enough that the fanbase won't be able to check out for the year. Jose Berrios is a different story. Even a week ago, I wasn't convinced that Berrios was going anywhere. Now I've done a complete 180 and think there is no way he's not traded. And there's going to be a market. Take your pick… San Diego is aggressive, has prospects, and is forward-thinking enough to pull off another blockbuster. Would they include any of their four top prospects? Would MacKenzie Gore, who's been a mess lately, even be enough? Or would the Twins shoot for the injured CJ Abrams or Robert Hassell? Could the Twins bring back Eric Hosmer's bad contract to help the Padres out financially and ask for another top prospect too? The Dodgers don't want to share the spotlight. Is it really a possibility that they offer Dustin May? If so, that is a conversation that needs to be had. Maybe the Giants won't want to be outdone, and though they can't offer a top-end pitching prospect, they do have prospect currency, including SS Marco Luciano and C Joey Bart. There should be enough interest that the Twins don't have to settle for prospects that aren't in the top tier. The AL East is also worth watching. Toronto (P Nate Pearson and SS Austin Martin) and New York (P Deivi Garcia) would both be able to move the needle. The NL East is just as interesting. The Mets have the prospects, but all are a few promotions from the major yet. (Plus, Kevin Mulvey is no longer available.) The Braves could be a match. So what would I do….? I'd call Trader Jerry and make a deal with the Mariners. The basic framework would be Jose Berrios for P George Kirby. Kirby is a Top 20 prospect and hasn't reached AA yet (but will soon). The Mariners are also in the market for an infielder. Does expanding the deal to include Jorge Polanco make sense? Would the Mariners have any interest in taking on Josh Donaldson? Does DiPoto want to roll the dice on Taylor Rogers being ready soon and helping out down the stretch? It would be hard to bet against the Mets, Dodgers, Padres, or Yankees in a bidding war, but the Mariners are a longshot who could make the best deal for both teams. Maybe the holes these trades would create would have to be filled internally, which may not seem to scream "we're competing in 2022," but in a season with so many questions and so few answers, do we really want to be tricked into thinking that's possible anyway?
  16. What’s Their Situation? Coming off a 2020 season in the cellar of the AL East, the Red Sox have been one of the most pleasant surprises in baseball so far in 2021. After two playoff-less seasons, the BoSox sit atop the East with a 62-39 record, tied with White Sox for the best record in the American League. It’s no secret that the AL East has always been a powerhouse with money, talent, and results. 2021 is no different. The Rays are only a game and a half back from Boston, and the Yankees have gained some steam as of recent, although a gut-wrenching loss to the Sox on Sunday put a dagger in that. The Red Sox have held their own thus far against their division rivals, going 4-2 against the Rays in the first half and 7-2 against the Bronx Bombers. That says something but the Sox will have to continue their division dominance in the second half as they play a combined 21 games against the Rays and Yankees. Could the Yankees continue their hot streak and run the table on the division? Sure. But if we’re honest, the East will most likely come down to the Sox and the Rays. Given the lack of performance in the AL Central, it’s probable that two teams from the East will make the playoffs if things continue the way they stand as of current. Yet few venues provide home-field advantage like Fenway, and it’s safe to say that this squad will be gunning for a division title. What Do They Need? Similar to the Twins, the Red Sox have the gift of versatility on the field. An infielder by trade, Enrique 'Kiké' Hernández has been a staple of the Boston outfield this year. Former Twins Marwin Gonzales and Danny Santana have also contributed at a number of positions. Yet while versatility is a strength, stability is a gift. One that the Red Sox don’t have at first base. Rookie Bobby Dalbec is nothing short of a fun story but has struggled to contribute at the plate, slashing .217/.259/.402. The Sox rank 28th in the league at the position in batting average (.204) and are dead last for OPS (.204). That ain’t gonna cut it for a team with a .257 batting average, fifth-best in the entire league. On the other side of the ball, Boston’s starting pitching staff is solid, but the team doesn’t really have an ace. That will likely change when Chris Sale rejoins the team from the Injured List, but who knows how long it will take him to get up to speed. Nathan Eovaldi leads the staff with a 9-5 record and 3.57 ERA, yet the team has an average ERA of 4.10, sandwiched at 14th in the league. It’s unlikely that Boston will gun for a true ace given Sale’s return, but it wouldn’t hurt to add another quality arm for depth. And like any other team, you can never have enough relief pitching. Closer Matt Barnes is an all-star caliber pitcher, but reinforcements are valuable, especially in the postseason. Which Twins Are the Best Fit? José Berríos and Michael Pineda are two very different pitchers but could both be potential fits for the Sox depending on what direction Chaim Boom’s front office wants to go. If the Sox are looking for a less expensive four/five starter, they could certainly go for Pineda. Big Mike has fallen short of expectations so far in 2021, primarily as of recent. He’s 1-3 in his last five starts and has a season ERA of 3.98. That isn’t horrific by any means, but Pineda has struggled to go deep in games and hasn’t mirrored his dominant 2019 and 2020 self. Still, it’s evident that Pineda has value, and perhaps he’d thrive in an environment as a lower leverage starter versus being a “Big Three” guy in Minnesota. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s got a strong background in the AL East, pitching for the Yankees from 2014-17. On the other hand, if Boom and the Sox want to make starting pitching their deadline priority, they could gun for Berríos. Jose may not have the street cred of Sale, but he would almost certainly be a top-two starter for the Red Sox. There are two angles that this trade could go: The Sox could trade for Berríos because they aren’t confident that Sale will return to his dominant self, or they could trade for him because they are confident in Sale and adding Berríos would create one of the best 1-2 punches in baseball. Taylor Rogers also fits as a potential trade target for the Red Sox. Bullpen staples Matt Barnes and Adam Ottovino will become free agents in 2022, and it’s unlikely both will stay in Boston. Rogers would not only be an excellent 2021 addition to the Boston pen but a potential long-term weapon if he chooses to sign a multi-year contract. It’s doubtful that the Twins would trade a young stud like Alex Kirilloff to help fill Boston’s first base void. And given his poor 2021 showing and influx of streakiness, Boston will almost certainly stay away from Miguel Sano. Bottom line? If the Red Sox snag anyone from the Twins, it’s going to be pitching. . Who Could The Twins Get Back? The Red Sox have the #24 ranked farm system in the league. Don’t let that fool you. While many of their top prospects are young, the organization has made several solid moves and acquisitions over the past few years that could be big for the franchise’s future. Triston Casas, 1B, 21 years old – The power-hitting big man is Boston’s top prospect and was ranked #44 in MLB.com’s Top 100 Prospect Rankings. Casas could potentially fill a hole at first if Miguel Sano continues to decline. The move would also allow Alex Kirilloff to live predominantly in the outfield, his position by trade. Casas is in AA Portland right now for the Sox and is the crowned jewel of the Boston farm. The Twins’ only chance of securing him would be if they were to give up Berrios. Bryan Mata, RHP, 22 years old – Ranked #4 on Boston’s Top 30 Prospect List, Mata could add to a list of potential rock-solid pitchers in the Twins’ farm. With a two-seamer that ranges from 93-97 MPH and a four-seamer that touches triple digits, Mata is known as a ground ball, contact pitcher more than a strikeout guy. He’s run into injuries, but the upside is up there.
  17. This week, there has been mounting speculation that Max Kepler could be a popular target at the trade deadline. While Twins fans may have become a little jaded on Kepler after the promise of his incredible 2019 season, there’s an awful lot to like. Kepler slugged his 13th home run of the season in a losing effort against the Angels on Sunday and is slugging .538 in his last 15 games. While he had a slow start to the season, Kepler’s wRC+ is up to 108, ahead of his 2020 numbers. Kepler also boasts strong defensive play, positional versatility, and excellent baserunning skills. Does this look like the Baseball Savant profile of an underrated player? Kepler is also signed to an extremely affordable contract which has him under team control for an additional two seasons beyond 2021, with a club option for 2024. Kepler will be paid a little over $15 million in his age 30 and age 31 seasons. He’s on track to be worth about $20 million in 2021 alone. While this is only one rough metric, Kepler’s performance has been very steady year over year, with the exception of his outstanding 2019 season. Who is Interested? Plenty of teams should be interested in a solid, affordable outfielder, but there are two more obvious fits. The Atlanta Braves could use an outfield upgrade, specifically in left field. While they are a logical candidate, Atlanta already added Joc Pederson to their outfield and may not be buyers with another bad week. The real Kepler steam has come from the possibility of the New York Yankees as a trade partner. The Yankees are known to seek a left-handed bat at the deadline. Despite being nine games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East, the Yankees are only 3.5 games back in a competitive wild card race. What Could the Twins Get Back? Cody Christie wrote up a more detailed overview of the Yankees as a prospective Twins trade partner. The Yankees do not have the same depth to their farm system that the Padres or Dodgers do. In spite of this, they have plenty of intriguing names which fit the Twins’ needs. Top prospect Jasson Dominguez is an unrealistic expectation, but there are several names Kepler could fetch in a return. Oswald Peraza The Yankees signed Peraza in the international free agent class of 2016. Peraza is an outstanding prospect, ranked #98 overall by MLB. He has excellent bat-to-ball skills, controls the strike zone well, and should be good for 15-20 home runs as he gets stronger and fills out. Peraza is fast and a capable base stealer. Additionally, he offers a 60-grade arm and is 60 grade in the field, offering everything but outstanding power. He is slugging .498 with 25 stolen bases in 2021 and is currently at AA. Luis Gil A name who haunts the dreams of Twins fans who are in the weeds with prospects. The Twins signed Gil for just $90,000 before trading him for Jake Cave in 2018. Gil has a 75-grade fastball which sits 95-98 which he uses up in the zone. Gil also offers a slider and a hard changeup which sits around 90 mph. Gil has to refine his control and command but has made his way to AAA, where he has struck out a whopping 86 batter in 59 2021 innings. Luis Medina Medina is another high-octane right-handed pitcher out of the Dominican Republic. Originally signed as a 16-year old, Medina was already throwing 100mph. Medina can now top out at 102 mph with cut and offers a plus curveball. There’s a massive variance in outcomes for Medina, which runs the gamete from front-line ace to late-inning reliever (if he doesn’t develop the consistency to throw enough strikes). Still, the potential is staggering. Potential Trade: Yankees acquire: OF Max Kepler Twins acquire: SS Oswald Peraza, RHP Luis Medina What do you think the chances are Max Kepler gets traded? What do you think is a fair return? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  18. What’s Their Situation? The San Francisco Giants have been the biggest surprise in baseball this year. Going into the season, most industry pundits and prediction systems had the Giants hovering around the .500 mark and finishing third place in their division behind Los Angeles and San Diego. With less than two weeks until the trade deadline, the San Francisco Giants hold the best record in baseball and sit atop their division. Their surprise run has been powered by the resurgent years of two 34-year-old veterans Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford as well as unexpected starting pitching success from Kevin Gausman, Anthony DeSclafani and Alex Wood. While the Giants reached the pinnacle of the baseball world three times in the 2010s, they have not reached the postseason since 2016. Even though they currently own the best record in baseball they only have a small lead over their division rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers. The road to the postseason in 2021 for the San Francisco Giants looks all but guaranteed, however, the division title is far from a guarantee. In order to win their division and take down the defending champions, the Giants will need some reinforcements and could look to the Twins to provide the pieces they need. What Do They Need? The Giants dynasty teams of the last decade were comprised of perennial All-Stars and household names. Those teams had a roster with Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Sergio Romo, Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, Pablo Sandoval, and Hunter Pence. They were also led by future Hall of Fame manager Bruce Bochy. The 2021 version of the San Francisco Giants looks a lot different. Outside of the likes of Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford this team lacks star power and household names. You’ve probably never heard of Darin Ruf, Donovan Solano, Austin Slater, Thairo Estrada or Steven Duggar. Surprisingly though, there aren't many holes to be filled on this team, but that doesn't mean they won't be buyers. Here's what they could add at the deadline to make this team even better. Starting Pitching: This has been an area of pleasant surprise for the Giants. During the winter they made a lot of short-term acquisitions to bolster their starting rotation. Many of those short-term acquisitions have had very strong seasons, which is a big part of the Giants' success. However, very few of them have the track record of staying healthy and being guys that can be relied on to make a deep postseason run. For that reason, starting pitching will be the Giants number one priority at the trade deadline. Relief Pitching: The Giants bullpen hasn't been terrible but it hasn't been great either. They’ve pretty much been average to slightly above-average in most statistical categories; however in the postseason you need better than average bullpen arms. Outfield: Other than Mike Yastrzemski, the Giants have struggled to get consistent production from any of their outfield options. Earlier in the season they acquired Mike Tauchman from the New York Yankees but his .569 OPS has provided very little impact offensively. Some of the other guys like Austin Slater, Alex Dickerson or Steven Duggar have had stretches where they played well but their numbers overall leave something to be desired. The only other bright spot in the outfield would be LaMonte Wade Jr but he spends most of his time at first base. Which Twins Are The Best Fit? José Berríos: Much has been made about whether or not the Twins should trade José Berríos, but if Minnesota ultimately does decide to part with their former top pitching prospect turned All-Star, the San Francisco Giants would likely be one of the many teams calling. Acquiring Berríos not only helps the Giants in 2021 but it helps them in 2022 as well. As previously mentioned, many of their current rotation options are on short-term deals that expire at the end of this season. So a move to bring in José Berríos sets them up for success now and for the future. Taylor Rogers: As with Berríos, Taylor Rogers will be one of the most highly sought-after pieces on the trade market but it's unsure whether or not the Twins will be willing to part with him. If Minnesota does in fact pull the trigger on dealing Taylor Rogers, they will have many suitors and the Giants will certainly be one of them. As stated earlier, the Giants bullpen has been average and adding a guy like Taylor Rogers makes them a better-than-average group. Additionally, it would also be pretty cool to see the Rogers brothers on the same team pitching against the Dodgers in the NLCS, or better yet, the World Series. Byron Buxton: There seems to be a trend here because much like the first two mentioned names, Buxton also fits into the category of will the Twins actually want to trade him. Given his injury history and amount of time spent on the injured list this season it may be a little bit harder for Minnesota to find a suitor for Buxton than it will be for Berríos or Rogers. It's no secret that a healthy Byron Buxton is one of the best players in all of baseball and a player of that caliber will help any team, especially a team like San Francisco that struggles to get high-end offensive production from many of their current outfield options. In addition to what he offers offensively, Byron Buxton would also be a huge defensive upgrade for the Giants. Imagine how fun it would be to see Byron Buxton patrol the vast open spaces of the Oracle Park outfield. What Could The Twins Get Back? This is where it gets dicey. If recent history tells us anything it's that the Minnesota Twins should avoid any trade calls from the San Francisco Giants at all costs. Let's take a look at some of the recent trades between the Giants and Twins and how they fared for each team. In 2016 the Giants acquired then All-Star shortstop Eduardo Núñez from Minnesota in exchange for Adalberto Mejia. Núñez would go on to help the Giants make the postseason in 2016 and they would later trade him to Boston in exchange for Shaun Anderson. Mejia, on the other hand, pitched 138 innings in a Twins uniform and posted a lackluster 4.63 ERA and a 96 ERA+. He now pitches in the Chinese Professional Baseball League. Now, raise your hand if you remember Sam Dyson. If you managed to completely scrub that from your memory until now, I'm sorry. In return for Sam Dyson, the Giants acquired Jaylin Davis, who to this point hasn't done much to speak of at the major league level, however, Sam Dyson was one of the worst trade acquisitions a team could possibly ask for and he is no longer pitching in professional baseball. Lastly we have the LaMonte Wade Jr. for Shaun Anderson trade that took place this past winter. LaMonte Wade Jr. has been a revelation for San Francisco and is hitting .252/.347/.520 (.867) and a 133 OPS+. Meanwhile, Shaun Anderson is no longer in the Twins organization and is currently pitching for a third different organization this season. Perhaps Falvey and Levine would be better off blocking Farhan Zaidi’s number but if they were to strike another deal, the Giants do offer some intriguing options. Joey Bart: If Minnesota is committed to Mitch Garver then perhaps Bart wouldn’t be that intriguing but he is the 17th ranked prospect in baseball and the second-highest ranked catching prospect behind the Orioles Adley Rutschman. Bart is a very promising young player who’s currently blocked by further Hall of Famer, Buster Posey. Marco Luciano: This 19-year-old shortstop is the prize possession of the Giants farm system and the 12th overall prospect in baseball. It will be difficult to pry Luciano away from the Giants but a package deal of Berríos and Rogers may do the trick. Heliot Ramos: This Giants outfield prospect is the 63rd ranked prospect in baseball and is on the fast track to the big league roster. After a breakout spring training in which he hit .410/.425/.718 (1.116), Ramos went on to hit for a .756 OPS in double-A before his recent promotion to triple-A. Seth Cory: After developing Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain the Giants have largely failed at developing quality starting pitching but Seth Cory looks promising. The 22-year-old is currently pitching in high A and is the 84th ranked prospect in baseball. Bart, Luciano, Ramos and Cory won’t come easy but if Minnesota is willing to part with any one or some combination of their most prized possessions then San Francisco would likely be willing to part with some of their prized prospects.
  19. What's Their Situation? Coming into the season, everyone expected the Padres and Dodgers to be battling it out for the NL Central crown, which the Padres haven't won since they went back-to-back in 2006 and 2007. To almost everyone's surprise, neither team is in first place, as the San Francisco Giants have been baseball's best team over the first 94 games of the season. And even though they find themselves 5.5 games behind the division leader and in third place, FanGraphs has their odds to make the postseason at 92.3-percent, making them the second Wild Card team and likely facing the Dodgers or Giants in the Wild Card round. Currently, the Padres are tied with the Mets with an 8.0-percent chance to win the World Series, which is 5th best in the league. What Do They Need? Like the Dodgers, but even more so, the Padres need starting and relief pitching. The Padres are 23rd in all of baseball in getting innings from their starters, leading them to use their relievers the most in baseball. Aside from Yu Darvish, who is currently on the IL and has struggled since the MLB cracked down on "sticky stuff," they don't have any top-end arms in their rotation or bullpen. That said, they have gotten good production from Joe Musgrove (SP), Emilio Pagan (RP), Pierce Johnson (RP), and Austin Adams (RP). They could also use a right-handed bat as they are a mediocre team against left-handed pitching. Which Twins Are The Best Fit? It remains to be seen if anyone will be willing to add any of the Twins expiring contracts who are at least partially responsible for the Twins being sellers in 2021. That said, I think the Twins could DFA Alex Colomé, Hansel Robles, J.A. Happ, or Matt Shoemaker on August 1st if they aren't moved the day before. In short, they would likely take anything (PTBNL or cash) as their return on investment rather than just giving up the players for free. Of course, the headliners for the Twins are José Berríos, Taylor Rogers, and Tyler Duffey, but I think Michael Pineda and Caleb Thielbar could be intriguing trade candidates as well. Thielbar is one of the most under-appreciated Twins, and despite being 34-years-old, he still has three years of team control remaining. What Could the Twins Get Back? The Padres have been very active on the trade market in recent years yet boast one of the best farm systems in baseball. They feature four to five top-100 guys depending on the source and two guys in the top-10. Moreover, many of their top prospects are close to getting their crack at contributing in the Major Leagues. You'll notice that shortstop CJ Abrams, a headliner prospect, isn't on this list because he recently fractured his leg, and I don't see the Padres willing to "sell low" on a player with such a high ceiling. MacKenzie Gore, LHP, 22yo - Gore is one the best prospects in all of baseball and would require a haul to acquire from the Padres if he's even available at all. That said, aside from 101 innings in 2019, he's struggled in the Minors, where he has a 5.85 ERA and is issuing 5.4 walks per nine innings. He fits the current Twins mold, high 90's fastball with a slider, and maybe his struggles have the Padres ready to move on. Robert Hassel, OF, 19yo - I'd be remiss if I didn't have Hassel on this list as he's a high-level prospect that would be hard to pass up if he's available, but he is another left-handed hitter of which the Twins are loaded (Luis Arraez, Jorge Polanco, Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, and Matt Walner). That said, with his upside, it could provide a future replacement if they were unable to extend Byron Buxton, although his defense obviously would be a significant downgrade. Ryan Weathers, LHP, 21yo - despite having less than 130 innings in the minors, Weathers has been forced to the Majors, where he has fared pretty well thru 58.2 innings. His xERA (5.29) and FIP (4.54) aren't favorable, but to this point, he has posted a 2.91 ERA and a K/BB of 2.33, which is decent. Like Gore, Weathers has a high-velocity fastball and a slider, although his best secondary pitch is his change-up. He's a step down from the first three prospects mentioned and thus more available and cheaper. Reggie Lawson, RHP, 23yo Justin Lange, RHP, 19yo Anderson Espinoza, RHP, 23yo I grouped these guys because they are intriguing, a tier or two below weathers, and have flaws that would make them cheaper. All would be a risk to take on, especially Lawson and Espinoza, who have battled injuries in their time in the Minors. Lawson, who just recently returned to the mound, has a mid-90's fastball with plus offspeed. Espinoza, who hadn't pitched since 2016, has struggled this year to be expected after such a long layoff and was pumping high 90's in spring training. The risk in adding Lange is that he's only 19-years-old who can hit triple digits, making his health and development a bit of a wild card.
  20. Organization’s prospect depth helps to keep team’s competitive window open as long as possible. Minnesota has built up a strong farm system but that means the team hasn’t been able to hang on to some of their depth in recent years. Players like Akil Baddoo and LaMonte Wade have gone on to find success with other organizations because the Twins didn’t project them as part of the long-term plan. Brent Rooker seems like another player that doesn’t fit into the team’s long-term plan. During the 2020 season, he impressed during his big- league debut although it was limited to seven games and 21 plate appearances. During that time, he hit .316/.381/.579 with three extra-base hits and five strikeouts. His season was cut short due to a fractured forearm, but it wasn’t hard to envision him fitting on the team’s roster moving forward. Entering the 2021 season, Rooker was fighting for a roster spot. However, it became clear that the team wasn’t keen to use him as a defensive outfielder, because he is below average in a corner outfield spot. First base is a position where he is not as much of a defensive liability, but the team has other options at that position. Minnesota was forced to make a choice and Kyle Garlick earned the final roster spot. Rooker was going to have to slug his way back to the Twins. Rooker has certainly been making his presence known in the Saints roster this season. His season started on a slow note as he was limited to a .375 OPS during the team’s eight April games. He posted an .836 OPS in May, but June was when he really turned it on as he hit .275/.420/.675 (1.095) with nine home runs. He was one of the best hitters in the minors and the Twins didn’t have a roster spot for him even though they were struggling. One of the biggest reasons the Twins didn’t give Rooker the call was because two other outfield prospects have passed him up on the depth chart. Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach are considered better prospects than Rooker, but he has always been playing at a higher level in Minnesota’s farm system. Losing the 2020 minor league season likely cost Rooker a chance to play his way into the team’s long-term plans. Kirilloff went on the IL earlier this week, but Rooker still wasn’t called up to take his spot. Now Nelson Cruz has been traded, so Rooker might get an opportunity to slide into a DH role with the Twins. However, trading him to another organization might be his best chance at finding a permanent big-league role. Because of his college experience, he is already 26-years old. He has dominated Triple-A pitching in parts of two different seasons and the Twins don’t seem to have a spot for him. Like Badoo and Wade, he may find success in another organization, but he at least deserves to have a chance to prove he belongs at the MLB level. Do you think the Twins should trade Rooker? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  21. What’s Their Situation? As usual, the Rays are exceptional. As of July 22nd, their record stands at 57-39, 7th best in baseball, with the fifth-best run differential. The reigning AL champions will have their eyes set on another deep playoff run after being beaten by the Dodgers at the final hurdle in 2020. The Rays currently sit a game behind the surprising Boston Red Sox in a log-jammed AL East. The Blue Jays and Yankees are comfortably behind them but within a good week of breathing down their neck at the top of the division. At the time of writing, Tampa Bay has a 73% chance to make the playoffs, according to Fangraphs, comfortably fourth-best in the AL, behind the Red Sox, White Sox, and Astros. The Rays have a 2021 payroll of just over $69 million (makes you think), a whopping $59 million below league average. They can add and add creatively, but don’t expect them to take on any massive contracts. That’s not what they do. What Do They Need? Like most great teams, the Rays don’t have a lot of holes. By fWAR, they boast the 6th best offense and 9th best pitching staff in MLB. Their bullpen is solid (3rd best in MLB), while their starting pitching is less robust (16th). While their offense is potent, it’s aided by solid defense and excellent baserunning. Their 100 team wRC+ is good for 12th in baseball, even behind the eighth-place Twins (103). Which Twins are the Best Fit? Nelson Cruz was the primary Twins' trade target linked to the Rays, and for good reason. The Rays were keen to sign Cruz before he initially landed in Minnesota and could use a power boost to a robust and deep lineup which Cruz could provide. The Rays don’t have a glaring hole at DH, with the excellent Austin Meadows (122 wRC+) getting plenty of at-bats there. Still, Cruz is the type of luxury item you purchase in a season in which you want to return to and win your first World Series, particularly when you would only need to pay a prorated portion of his 2021 salary. Starting pitching is the other area the Rays could strengthen. While he’s a fit in that he’s excellent, it’s hard to see the Rays pursuing Jose Berríos when they have Tyler Glasnow on the shelf and a stable of outstanding pitching talent close to MLB ready. Michael Pineda is a more logical fit to provide solid innings through the remainder of the season, which offers little respite in the AL East. Like Cruz, Pineda would be a rental. He would also be relatively cheap, compared to Cruz. Who Could the Twins Get Back? Examining the Rays top 30 prospects is genuinely a pleasure. Behind all that incredible MLB talent, they have a deeply stocked pantry of prospecty goodness. In choosing potential Twins targets, I’ll admit to being ambitious. Each of the Rays top five prospects are consensus top 100 MLB prospects, so I stuck to more projectable prospects in the 6-15 range, acknowledging that due to the strength of the Rays farm system, their 6-15 is better than most. Here are three prospects the Twins would likely covet from the Rays system. Greg Jones, SS, A+ Jones and Ryan Jeffers have UNC Wilmington in common, the former being a supplemental first-rounder in 2019. As a prospect, Jones is an incredible athlete, showcasing 70-grade speed. He is a solid hitter who generates good bat speed and makes solid contact from both sides of the plate. Jones showcases the ability, athleticism, and defensive chops to stick at SS or move to 2B. However, some see it as likely he will eventually transition to CF at the MLB level. Cole Wilcox, RHP, A The Padres drafted Wilcox as the 80th overall pick in 2020. He was promptly shipped to Tampa Bay as part of the Blake Snell trade. Wilcox has a fastball that sits in the mid-90s, which he uses consistently up in the zone, a strong slider, and an emerging changeup. Some believe Wilcox will eventually transition to a bullpen role. In 44 IP at High A so far this year, he sports a 2.03 ERA with 52 Ks. Seth Johnson, RHP, A The Rays took Johnson as the 40th overall pick in the 2019 draft. He has a big fastball which tops out at 98 mph but usually sits 92-95 mph. Johnson also showcases an outstanding swing and miss slider and a loopy curveball. Johnson may end up as a reliever given his reliance on his fastball/slider combination but has the tools and athleticism to develop into an MLB starter if he continues to develop his third pitch successfully. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  22. Just minutes ago, several national baseball writers, including Jeff Passan announced that the Twins and Rays have reached a deal for the reigning AL champions from Tampa to add slugging DH Nelson Cruz. According to Bob Nightengale, the deal will involve four players including pitcher Drew Strotman. The Twins have made it official, noting the Wichita right-handed reliever Calvin Faucher will also be going to the Rays. In return, the Twins will get pitchers Strotman and Joe Ryan. The Players Drew Stotman is a 24-year-old right-handed pitcher. He has spent 2021 with the Rays Triple-A affiliate in Durham, NC. He is 7-2 with a 3.39 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP. In 58 1/3 innings, he has given up 50 hits, walked and struck out 62 batters. He was the Rays fourth round pick in 2017 out of St. Mary's in California. Joe Ryan is a 25-year old right-hander. He has spent the season with Triple-A Durham as well. He is 4-3 with a 3.63 ERA and a 0.79 WHIP. In 57 innings, he has given up 35 hits, walked just ten and struck out 75 batters. He was the team's 7th round pick in 2018 out of Cal State-Stanislaus. The two have combined to make 23 starts for Durham and worked twice out of the bullpen. Ryan ranks as the Rays #10 prospect while Stotman ranked #17. Calvin Faucher was the Twins 10th round pick in 2017 out of UC-Irvine. In 30 2/3 innings with Double-A Wichita, he posted a 7.04 ERA and a 2.05 WHIP. He is a good athlete on the mound. But let's be honest, we're here, right now, to learn about the prospects coming to the Twins from the Rays organization, and to thank Nelson Cruz for two-and-a-half terrific seasons. Nelson Cruz won the AL Silver Slugger for DH his first two years with the team. He finished in the Top 10 in MVP voting both years as well. In 2021, at 41, he is again having a terrific season and represented the Twins at the All-Star game last week. In his time with the Twins, Cruz played in 258 games. He hit .304/.386/.598 (.984) with 435 doubles, 76 home runs and 191 RBI. He was clearly the leader in the clubhouse. He has won humanitarian award for his community service in the cities he has played in as well as his home in the Dominican Republic. The Rays head into Thursday games with a 57-39 record, one game back of the Boston Red Sox in the AL East. They are the current leader in the race for an AL Wild Card spot. They have a need at DH. The Rays need a right-handed power bat. Please feel free to share your thoughts on Nelson Cruz's time with the Twins, today's trade to the Rays, the two pitchers they received in return.
  23. What’s Their Situation? The Astros continue to reap the benefits from the tremendous core they constructed nearly five years ago. Houston has a truly terrific lineup. When fully healthy, they mesh four outstanding right-handed hitters in José Altuve (138 wRC+), Carlos Correa (149), Alex Bregman (120) and Yuli Gurriel (136) with three equally great left-handed bats in Michael Brantley (138), Kyle Tucker (128) and Yordan Álvarez (146). It’s the best and most dynamic attack in all of baseball. There’s no question that the addition of Dusty Baker as manager has benefitted the Astros in a massive way. He’s carefully navigated the difficulties of their (self-imposed) cheating demons, and continues to masterfully and tactfully manage. Baker’s starting rotation has the lowest ERA in the American League (3.35) even with a fairly pedestrian strikeout-to-walk rate (15.8%). The rotation is spearheaded by Lance McCullers Jr., who’s dazzled to a 2.89 in five starts since returning from the injured list. The Astros have a quantity of quality, with a major-league-leading five pitchers who’ve started at least 10 games with an ERA that’s 15% or better than league average. Houston carries a 3.5 game lead over the Oakland Athletics in the American League West. FanGraphs gives the Astros nearly an 87% chance to take the division and a 96.4% of making the playoffs. With the American League East looking weaker than usual and the White Sox eating up on a poor Central division, it certainly looks like the Astros are in the driver’s seat to take the pennant. What Do They Need? Houston is a very deep and strong club, with few glaring weaknesses. There’s one spot that sticks out, however. The Astros’ bullpen has a 4.09 ERA on the season, good for eighth in the American League. Ryan Pressly has been fantastic, pitching to a 1.42 ERA and 1.38 FIP in 36 games. Outside of Pressly, Houston has very little in the way of lockdown relievers. Cristian Javier has pitched well in a longer-relief role, but the Astros could use at least one more right-handed arm to supplement Pressly and the inconsistent Ryne Stanek. The return of Pedro Báez should help in that regard, though. Even more, the Astros would benefit greatly from a left-handed arm to pair with Pressly in the highest-leverage spots. Which Twins Are The Best Fit? Without question, Taylor Rogers would be the most attractive option for Houston in a deal. Rogers was sporting a 2.45 ERA and a 51-to-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio before allowing a grand slam in Sunday’s eventual win over Detroit. Rogers is also under contract for 2022, his final year of arbitration before free agency. Although the Astros have a deep and enviable starting rotation, they could be a sleeper for José Berríos. You can never have enough pitching and the Astros may lose Zack Greinke in free agency this winter. Could Houston, an organization that excels at maximizing starting pitching, see some hidden upside in Berríos? Very few centerfielders can match the acumen of George Springer, but Myles Straw has done an admirable job in his wake. Straw is hitting .310/.401/.405 since June 1st and has been worth 1.2 bWAR in 86 games. Even when a spot is good, why not make it great? Enter Byron Buxton, who could turn the Astros into World Series favorites if they aren’t already. A healthy Buxton would make Houston truly impeccable. Who Could The Twins Get Back? The Astros have a poor farm system, a result of graduating so many good major leaguers and losing picks due to the cheating scandal. For the Twins, the focus should be high-upside pitching prospects. RHP Hunter Brown, the Astros’ No. 3 prospect via MLB Pipeline, is an intriguing player. Brown has struck out 37% of hitters at Double-A this season with a fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s and a hammer curveball. Brown is currently a starter but has struggled to throw strikes consistently. RHP Forrest Whitley is out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery but has upside to dream on. Whitley has slowly fallen down prospect boards due to injuries and a truly horrific 2019 season. Still, he’s 6-foot-7 with a fastball that reaches 99 and two 60-grade off-speed pitches. OF Colin Barber offers an interesting change of pace from what the Twins may be seeking. He’s a left-handed outfielder who projects as a rightfielder in the big leagues. Barber is only 20 years old and has hit .248/.380/.411 in 44 minor-league games.
  24. Danny Abriano of SNY wrote an article yesterday on Berríos as a potential fit for the Mets. In it, he makes a lot of great points on how valuable José could be to that club and how the Mets are a team particularly well-suited to meet the Twins’ high asking price. The Mets are currently in first place in the NL East, but hold just a 2.5-game advantage over the Phillies, who are just a game up on Atlanta and 2.5 games up on Washington. It’s a tight race. New York was expecting to have plenty of pitching by now, but Carlos Carrasco and Noah Snydergaard have both experienced setbacks in their attempts to rehab from injuries. It doesn’t seem like either of those two are in the Mets’ long-term plans, either. Syndergaard is a free agent at the end of this year and Carrasco has a $14 million option with a $3 million buyout. That’s especially notable because Marcus Stroman is also a free agent after this season, leaving the Mets with some uncertainty in their 2022 rotation plans. That’s why Berríos seems like such a nice fit for them over someone like Jon Gray of the Rockies, who would just be a rental. So what’s in it for the Twins? Abriano suggests the package would need to be similar to what the Mets gave up for Marcus Stroman — Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods-Richardson. He packages Tylor Megill and Robert Dominguez as a similar duo but thinks it would take something more like Megill and J.T. Ginn. Maybe even more than that. If you’re looking for prospects dripping with upside, this isn’t the kind of deal that’s going to get you going. The inclusion of Megill does make this very intriguing for anyone who’s not willing to sacrifice 2022. He’s already contributing to the Mets. Well, that’s actually underselling it. Like a lot of teams in 2021, the Mets have been decimated by injuries. That’s created an opening for Megill and he’s ran with it. He started this season dominating in Double A, moved up for three starts in Triple A and has been brilliant in five starts for the Mets. Megil, a 6-foot-7 right-hander, has pitched to a 2.63 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and has averaged 10.5 K/9 in 24 innings pitched. His fastball averages 94.6 mph and he pairs that with a slider and a changeup. He’s been sort of like a savior to their rotation, so why would the Mets trade him? Uncertainty. Megill is very much a pop-up prospect. He was drafted in the eighth round back in 2018 and came into this year ranked 21st in the Mets system according to MLB Pipeline and 25th by FanGraphs. Is this breakout for real, or will Megill, who turns 26 soon, prove to be a flash in the pan? As for Ginn, he was the high-rated prospect entering this year (sixth in the Mets’ system by MLB Pipeline and seventh by FanGraphs), but is still not cracking top-100 lists. Drafted out of Mississippi State in the second round in 2020, Ginn has a 2.56 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 8.1 K/9 as a 22-year-old in Low A. This is his first year back after recovering from Tommy John, so it’s quite possible the best is yet to come. For me, just Megill and Ginn would not be enough. It’s an intriguing starting point, though. Getting a pitcher you can plug right into the MLB rotation and a prospect who grades out similarly to someone like Matt Canterino gets you listening. If you’d prefer a higher-upside package, Twins Daily’s Matthew Taylor put together a package of shortstop Ronny Mauricio and right-handed pitcher Matt Allan, both consensus top-100 prospects. There were two other Berríos trade hypotheticals offered up in that article, which you can check out here. If you’re looking to build a package of your own, Twins Daily’s Thiéres Rabelo recently took a look at the fit between the Mets and Twins in a trade deadline piece that would be a great place to start. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  25. Every year leading into the trade deadline, FanGraphs ranks the top 50 players in baseball according to their trade value. Some of items taken into consideration are performance, age, and years remaining of team control. According to their explanation, “the central question we considered boils down to this: how much value could a team expect to get in a trade for each player on the list?” One Twins player’s ranking may come as a surprise. Max Kepler ranks as baseball’s 45th most valuable trade asset and this comes a year after being ranked 39th overall. He is under team control through 2024 when he will be in his age-31 season. Over the next three seasons, he is projected to be worth 8.8 WAR while earning a max (no pun intended) of $25.3 million. Kepler’s name hasn’t been out there in trade discussions as much as players like Nelson Cruz, Jose Berrios, and Andrelton Simmons. That doesn’t mean a Kepler deal is out of the question. Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach emerging as valuable corner outfield options makes it easier to part with Kepler. Minnesota is also talking to Byron Buxton about a potential contract extension and that might leave the Twins even more willing to part with Kepler. So, how does Kepler enter the discussion as one of the most valuable trade assets? He is a good, but not great player that has multiple years of control on a team friendly deal. For his career, he has hit .234/.317/.442 (.760) and been worth 11.7 WAR, which FanGraphs values at $93.9 million. He has also shown the ability be a strong defensive corner outfielder while being capable of being an average defensive center fielder. During the 2021 season, Kepler is posting career highs in average exit velocity and hard hit %. For instance, his average exit velocity in 2019, when he hit 36 homers, was in the 61st percentile. Fast-forward to 2021 and he’s in the 76th percentile for average exit velocity. Minnesota has also seen some of Kepler’s flaws since his breakout 2019 campaign. According to some defensive metrics, he’s in the midst of his worst defensive season of his career. His hamstring issues have certainly slowed him down. That being said, he still ranks in the 78th percentile for outs above average and he’s outfield jump is one of baseball’s best (97th percentile). Offensively, it has been hard to live up to 2019. He consistently posts BABIP totals under .250 because he pops the ball up so frequently. This season, he is also striking out at a higher rate than any other season as his chase rate is in the 89th percentile. He’s hitting the ball harder, but the results haven’t been there. Teams know what they are getting with Kepler and organizations find value in having a known cost. How much value that brings as a trade asset is yet to be seen. Do you think Kepler is one of baseball’s most valuable trade assets? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
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