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  1. Before diving into Berrios as the award winner, let’s take a look at some of those that finished just short. Nearly Beat Him Bailey Ober 3-3, 4.19 ERA, 92.1 IP, 9.4 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, 9.0 H/9, 1.9 HR/9 Coming up just short of picking up a second award in this cycle, Bailey Ober finished only three points behind Berrios in the voting. While the Puerto Rican is no longer with the organization, Ober coincidentally finished 2021 with the same amount of starts, 20. Ober was not a top prospect at any point during his run on the farm, and enough can't be said about the work he put in with no minor league season a year ago. Ober made just four starts for Triple-A St. Paul before being called up by the Twins, and those were to the tune of a 2.81 ERA. Always a high strikeout guy, Ober punched out 11.8 per nine in his 16 innings to earn the big league call. With the Twins, his numbers didn’t slide substantially as he still struck out 9.4 per nine and dropped the walk rate down to 1.9. If there was a bugaboo in his debut season, it was the 1.9 HR/9 that was compiled by allowing 20 dingers in just north of 90 innings pitched. Going into 2022, it’s hard not to look at Ober as the current ace of the staff. With Kenta Maeda on the shelf and Berrios since departed, Ober will be relied on internally when it comes to immediately present options. He put forth an excellent rookie showing, and while the 4.19 ERA may be uninspiring, a guy who’s dealt with injuries looking this good and this healthy is plenty to drool on for Twins brass. Out Of Nowhere Caleb Thielbar 7-0, 3.23 ERA, 64.0 IP, 10.8 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 7.7 H/9, 1.1 HR/9 In this space, it’s probably a bit weird to see a reliever’s name show up. Someone pitching out of the pen being present probably speaks volumes to the impact starting pitching ultimately had. That said, Thielbar didn’t back in to this space by any means. Nearly retired from baseball and coaching a college team, the Minnesota native emerged in 2020 and substantiated his place this season. Across 64 innings, Thielbar posted a 3.23 ERA and a career-best 10.8 K/9. The soft-tossing lefty became one of Minnesota’s best relief arms and routinely was a guy Rocco Baldelli could turn to in critical spots. Despite never owning a blistering fastball, his stuff produced a career-best 32.3% whiff rate. The eight homers were a bit uncharacteristic for him when considering the career as a whole, but if there’s a step forward taken there in 2022, Minnesota will have created one of baseball’s best relief arms. And The Winner Jose Berrios 7-5, 3.48 ERA, 121.2 IP, 9.3 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, 7.0 H/9, 1.0 HR/9 It’s hard to write about an award that a guy wins when he’s no longer with the organization. It stings a bit more when it’s Jose Berrios. A fan favorite who was drafted, developed and grew up with the Twins. That’s where we are, though, and there’s no denying that he was the best pitcher to throw for Minnesota in 2021. Evidenced by the return Derek Falvey got from the Toronto Blue Jays, it’s plenty apparent that the league thinks highly of the former Twins ace as well. Across 121 2/3 innings, compiled in 20 starts, Berrios posted a 3.48 ERA. His 9.3 K/9 was a slight step backward from 2020, but he remained a pillar of consistency. The 1.04 WHIP was a career-best, and so was the 7.0 H/9. Combined with his time in a Blue Jays uniform, Berrios’ 204 strikeouts were a new career-high, and he was once again in consideration for the American League All-Star team. Although the season didn’t go as planned for the Twins, and that was by no fault of Berrios, he started things well during his debut against Milwaukee. One of the season highlights, Jose punched out 12 Brewers in six no-hit innings. That was quite the opening act and a number he would never match again on the year. Berrios recorded double-digits again when he notched ten strikeouts against the White Sox on July 6. Entering the final season of arbitration eligibility, Berrios is in line for a big payday. Whether that comes with the Blue Jays or someone else on the open market, a season like this will set him up nicely at the negotiating table. As hard as it was to see him go, Berrios being worthy of this honor on the way out means he leaves on the highest of notes. Others Receiving Votes: Taylor Rogers, Michael Pineda, Tyler Duffey, Jorge Alcala, Joe Ryan MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Preorder the Offseason Handbook — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  2. Box Score Ober: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K (71.9% strikes) Home Runs: Buxton (15) Top 3 WPA: Ober .202, Arráez .156, Buxton .106 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Twins welcome Berríos with a three-run third For the first time, José Berríos took the mound at Target Field as the visiting pitcher, five days after earning a win in Toronto against his former team. Back in Canada on Sunday, the Twins offense couldn’t produce much against “La Makina,” scoring three runs on only four hits. Could tonight’s outcome be different? After Bailey Ober tossed a scoreless top of the first, pitching around a Marcus Semien double, Minnesota posed an immediate threat to Berríos. Luis Arráez singled on the very first pitch, moments before Byron Buxton drew a five-pitch walk, putting two men on with no outs. But José responded by shutting down the Twins lineup, retiring the next six batters. But in the third inning, the offense ambushed their former teammate. Andrelton Simmons worked a leadoff walk, and Arráez got his second hit of the night, scoring Simba on an RBI-triple down the right field line. In the very next at-bat, Buxton took Berríos deep, giving the Twins a 3-0 lead. Ober cruises through four, pulled early after a home run Perhaps Ober took advantage of the fact that all eyes were on the visiting starter, putting together a brilliant start. He did give up a couple of doubles, one in the first and another one in the third. But, other than that, he retired every other batter he faced, completing four innings on only 51 pitches – exactly twenty pitches fewer than Berríos, in case you were wondering. Ober pitched into the sixth very economically. He stranded yet another runner to deliver a scoreless fifth. But after giving up a one-out solo home run to Marcus Semien in the sixth, Rocco Baldelli removed him from the game at only 82 pitches (59 strikes). As he walked away from the mound, his body language indicated that he might not have been happy with the decision. This was Ober’s 20th start of the season and only once this year was he allowed to toss more than 82 pitches in a game (Jul 5, against the White Sox). Has Rocco’s approach towards him been too conservative throughout the season? After hitting back-to-back singles to open the fourth, the offense really quieted down. The bats went 1-for-15 with a walk to close out this game. That could’ve put a lot of pressure on the bullpen, who needed to take care of the slim two-run lead the rest of the way. But that wasn’t a problem for Minnesota’s relievers, who are having a fantastic month of September. Coming into tonight’s game, the Twins bullpen were posting a 2.82 ERA in September, which ranks second in baseball. Jorge Alcalá, Juan Minaya, Tyler Duffey dominated one of MLB’s strongest lineups, holding them scoreless and hitless for 2 2/3 innings. Alexander Colomé was even more effective, closing out the game on only five pitches, all for strikes. With tonight’s outing, the Twins bullpen ERA in September is now down to 2.70. After taking the first two games, the Twins go for a series win tomorrow. They take on Toronto tomorrow at 6:10 pm CDT on Justin Morneau’s Twins Hall of Fame induction night. Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SUN TUE WED THU FRI TOT Minaya 36 0 13 0 19 68 Vincent 40 0 0 13 0 53 Farrell 34 0 0 19 0 53 Thielbar 22 16 0 14 0 52 Duffey 0 11 12 0 17 40 Colomé 0 7 24 0 5 36 Barraclough 0 35 0 0 0 35 Alcalá 0 10 10 0 6 26 Coulombe 0 17 0 0 0 17 Garza Jr. 0 0 0 16 0 16 Moran 0 0 0 0 0 0
  3. Some of these players had memorable Twins tenures, while others might not have gotten a full opportunity. Either way, they are in the thick of the playoff hunt as their team’s search for October glory. Division Leaders Tampa Bay: Nelson Cruz, DH Nelson Cruz was dealt at the trade deadline in a move that brought back two top pitching prospects, including Joe Ryan. Since the trade, Cruz has posted a .776 OPS, which is 130 points lower than he had with the Twins this year. He still has a 117 OPS+, and he has some big hits in a Rays uniform. Tampa looks to go back to the World Series with Cruz as their veteran leader. Chicago: Liam Hendriks, RP Chicago paid Liam Hendriks a ton of money this winter to bring him to the Southside, and he has lived up to the hype. He leads the American League in Saves, and he has a career-high strikeout rate. Minnesota never gave Hendriks a chance in the bullpen, and some question the team’s decision to let him go. Either way, Chicago paid him to perform like this and to help the team in October. Houston: Ryan Pressly, RP Pressly was dealt to the Astros back in 2018 for Jorge Alcala and Gilberto Celestino. Both of these players have impacted the 2021 Twins, and they look to have bright futures. Ryan Pressly is in the midst of a tremendous season at the backend of the Astros bullpen. He has a sub 1.00 WHIP for the second time in his career, and his chase rate ranks in the 94th percentile. Wild Card Contenders Boston: Martin Perez, SP Twins fans may not have fond memories of Martin Perez as he posted a 5.12 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP in over 165 innings back in 2019. His time in Boston has only been slightly better. In the season’s first half, he posted a 4.04 ERA, which isn’t easy to do in the AL East. His average exit velocity and BB% both rank in the 60th percentile or higher. Toronto: Jose Berrios, SP On Sunday, Jose Berrios made his first career start against the Twins, and the Blue Jays walked away with the win. Berrios was part of a blockbuster deadline deal that brought Austin Martin and Simeon Woods Richardson to Minnesota. Toronto didn’t need Berrios to be an ace, and he has posted a 130 OPS+. Also, he has been worth more win probability added for the Blue Jays this season than with the Twins. New York: Luis Gil, SP In 2018, Gil was sent to the Yankees for Jake Cave, but he was a long way from making an impact at the big-league level. He’s been impressive across six big-league starts this season by posting a 3.07 ERA and 11.7 SO/9. Right now, the Yankees are on the outside of the playoffs, but Luis Gil might be one of the pieces to get them back into the postseason. Oakland: Deolis Guerra, RP Deolis Guerra was part of the Johan Santana trade, and Oakland is his sixth organization since leaving Minnesota. Oakland also has former Twin Sergio Romo, but Guerra has been the more valuable player this season. He ranks in the 84th percentile or higher in average exit velocity, xwOBA, xSLG, hard-hit %, and chase rate. Which of these players has the most significant impact on the playoff races? 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
  4. When the Minnesota Twins traded away José Berríos they gave away their most durable, consistent and talented pitcher they’ve had since Johan Santana. While the Twins will look to their farm system to fill in the gaps of the depleted rotation that Berríos left behind, they should also look to free agency to replace as much of the consistent, veteran arm of Berríos that they can. When looking for a replacement for José Berríos, the Minnesota Twins will need to look for a pitcher who mirrors the age and upside of José Berríos. The Twins should be targeting a pitcher better than impending free agent names like Vincent Velasquez and Aaron Sanchez, but at the same time avoiding aging stars that do not fit the Twins’ timeline such as Clayton Kershaw or Max Scherzer. In looking at replacements for Berríos, let’s look at pitchers aged 30 or younger who have shown flashes of excellence. Acquiring a pitcher in this mold would ideally allow the Twins to replace ~85% of Berríos’s production on a cheaper contract than the Puerto Rican right hander will command after the 2022 season. Let’s get to the list... Marcus Stroman RHP 30 years old 2019 - 2021: 306.1 IP, 3.06 ERA, 7.6 K/9 Marcus Stroman was a name that many Twins fans wanted Minnesota to sign at the 2019 trade deadline and again in free agency last offseason. Stroman ended up being traded to the Mets in 2019 and then signed the qualifying offer last offseason, but will finally be a fully unrestricted free agent this winter. Stroman is currently having the best season of his young career with a 2.80 ERA in 122 innings with the Mets. Stroman is not a lights-out pitcher with top-notch velocity, but he limits damage extremely well with pinpoint control and a sinker that induces ground balls more than 50% of the time. Stroman is still only 30 years old and has the type of profile that figures to age well. Stroman will command some big-time offers in free agency but with numbers similar to José Berríos, the Twins have a unique opportunity to replace their former ace with a new one. Kevin Gausman RHP 30 years old 2019 - 2021: 288.1 IP, 3.81 ERA, 10.7K/9 Kevin Gausman was another name that Twins fans were looking at as a potential free agent option last offseason, only to miss out on him via the qualifying offer. Similar to Stroman, Gausman is in the midst of the best season of his career, with a 2.35 ERA and a 10.6 K/9. Gausman has a nasty pitch arsenal and the type of stuff that could play over the life of a 5 year contract. Noah Syndergaard RHP 28 years old 2019 - 2021: 197.2 IP, 4.28 ERA, 9.2 K/9 Another name that was once linked to the Minnesota Twins, Syndergaard was talked about as a potential trade return for Byron Buxton when the Twins were looking for a starting pitcher at the 2019 trade deadline. Now a free agent, Syndergaard figures to be a name that will draw interest from many clubs. Syndergaard has elite stuff, highlighted by his fastball that can reach triple digits. What has held “Thor” back is injury, as he is still working his way back from Tommy John surgery he underwent at the end of the 2019 season. When healthy, Syndergaard can be one of the premier starting pitchers in baseball, and while his injury presents risk, it could also present an opportunity to get value on a potential contract. Eduardo Rodriguez LHP 28 years old 2019 - 2021: 303.0 IP, 4.40 ERA, 9.9 K/9 Moving to the southpaws, Eduardo Rodriguez has been an underrated starting pitcher with the Boston Red Sox over the past number of years. Rodriguez is having a tough 2021 season, with an ERA of 5.60, but his underlying statistics show that he has been pitching much better than that. Rodriguez would bring a left handed pitcher to a rotation and farm system full of righties, and at just 28-years-old it’s fair to wonder if the Minnesota Twins could add some MPH to his low-90s fastball and unlock even more from the promising lefty. Robbie Ray LHP 29 years old 2019 - 2021: 350.1 IP, 4.21 ERA, 11.7 K/9 After a miserable 2020 season, Robbie Ray has rebounded in 2021 and is having a career year. After always having the strikeout arsenal, Ray has found his control and is walking a career-low 2.4 batters per 9 innings. Ray is only 29 years old, and if he has truly turned a corner in terms of his command, he could be an ace for the next half-decade and a great candidate to replace José Berríos. Which of these impending free agent pitchers would be the best replacement for José Berríos? Which do you think will command the least and most money on the free agent market? Leave a comment below 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
  5. 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.
  6. The month of July featured some turnover that was long overdue with the demotion of Matt Shoemaker at the beginning of month and trading J.A. Happ at the end of the month. We saw seven different starting pitchers and seventeen pitchers get innings altogether. Here are the four I thought did the best. Do you agree? Honorable Mention #3: Bailey Ober This spot was really a toss up between a couple guys, but I went Bailey Ober because I think he faired well given the circumstances. If you had told me, or anyone, that by the end of July Bailey Ober would have 47 1/3 big league innings I would have told you something went terribly wrong. Welp...here we are. Regardless, Ober has responded well and July was no exception. Over 22 2/3 innings and five starts, Ober had a 3.97 ERA while striking out more than one batter per inning, and earning his first major league victory against the Chicago White Sox. His downfall was walks (3.18 per nine) and the long ball (1.59 per nine) which hadn’t been problems in nearly 200 minor league innings. Ober will use the rest of the 2021 season to showcase his talents for the 2022 starting rotation which currently has four open spots. Honorable Mention #2: Danny Coulombe Coulombe has quietly been one of the most reliable arms out of the bullpen in his short time with the Twins. He dominated the month of July in particular by striking out 10.64 batters per nine innings, boasting an ERA of 1.64, and ISSUING ZERO WALKS throughout the entire month. I would expect the walk rate to increase as that’s always been an issue for him, but it will be interesting to see how the rest of the season pans out for Coulombe. Despite being 31-years-old, he still has three years of team control remaining which could be significant if he turns into a passable or better reliever for the Minnesota Twins. Honorable Mention #1: José Berríos For the third consecutive month, ‘La Makina’ is the runner up to the Pitcher of the Month and it actually was his worst month of the season. Now, when you’re having the season that Berríos is having, saying it was his worst month is hardly a knock. In the month of July he threw 32 innings over five starts with an ERA of 3.66 and a K/9 of 8.44. If it weren’t for one really bad inning against the Chicago White Sox in the nightcap of a doubleheader, Berríos's July would have been nearly on par with the rest of his season. Of course, the month of July ended the Berríos era with the Minnesota Twins when he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays. In his time with the Minnesota Twins, he was one of the most durable pitchers in all of baseball throwing 781 and ⅓ innings, striking out 779 batters, and a 4.08 ERA. Pitcher of the Month: Kenta Maeda It took three months, but we finally got a glimpse of the 2020 Kenta Maeda who finished 2nd in Cy Young voting. It’s been a rough go in 2021, but in July Maeda had an era of just 2.15 while striking out 11.05 batters per nine innings and walking 1.84 batters per nine innings. Despite his efforts, he only earned a decision in two of his five outings, winning one of them. On top of his effectiveness on the mound, he also scored the game winning run when he pinch ran in extra innings against the Detroit Tigers. Currently, Maeda is the only starter that is locked into the rotation for 2022 so regaining his 2020 form will be important to follow over the next two months of the season. How do you feel about these rankings? How would you rank them?
  7. 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
  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. With virtually every top prospect, the intrigue surrounds what they’ll become at the next level. Berrios was a wiry kid from Puerto Rico. He became a workout warrior known for posting videos of flipping tires and pulling cars during winters on the island. There was not a consensus view on what type of pitcher he’d slot in as in the big leagues, but it’s hard to say he’s been anything but a success story for the Twins. He finishes his time in Minnesota having pitched 781 ⅓ innings across 136 games. His 4.08 ERA is weighed down by the 8.02 mark he put up during his rookie campaign, but he racked up 779 strikeouts and recorded 55 wins. Berrios pitched for some terrible Twins teams and some outstanding ones. He drew some huge Postseason starts, and his last turn against the Houston Astros in 2020 may have been his best. During his Twins tenure Berrios made two All-Star teams and could’ve been in line for another had this season been more competitive. He’s shown Gold Glove-worthy fielding prowess, and he’s revamped that workout routine seen so often in tweets to sustain effectiveness and increase velocity. Jose has always been a humble human being, but he’s grown maturity wise as well handling interviews with increasing confidence. Both on and off the field, Berrios has embodied a consistent and commendable amount of transformation. It’s hard to fault a player like Berrios for wanting to see that massive payday. He’ll enter free agency as one of the premier talents available, and pitching is always something that gets paid for. After playing through arbitration to this point, maximizing his value makes a lot of sense and is also an avenue the Twins may be right in avoiding. Although Minnesota won’t see the end of Berrios’ team control, it’s hard not to look at the life cycle of this player as a big win for them. He was drafted, developed, performed at or above expectations, and now has become a transferable asset. The hope would be that Derek Falvey executes a move bringing back a pitching-laden haul to help the club compete in 2022 and beyond. Maybe Berrios never became the ace that the Twins had hoped for, but he has been their number one starter for virtually the entirety of his time as an established big league veteran. Maybe there’s another step for him to unlock in the years ahead, and this is absolutely a guy that Twins fans can cheer for well beyond his time in the hometown threads. 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. Nick, Seth and Matthew break down a busy trade deadline, sharing thoughts on the José Berríos, J.A. Happ and Hansel Robles deals. You can catch future live streams by following our YouTube, Twitter and Facebook channels.
  11. 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
  12. What's Their Situation? The Toronto Blue Jays entered the 2020 offseason with a clear goal in mind: return to the American League playoffs in 2021 and make some noise. The first step in attempting to accomplish this task was bringing in veteran offensive talent to complement young studs Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette, so they went out and spent big on shortstop Marcus Semien (1-year, $18 million) and outfielder George Springer (6-years, $150 million). The next step was to shore up the starting rotation, so they brought back Robbie Ray on a 1-year, $8 million deal and consummated a trade with the New York Mets for Steven Matz. The final step was to bet that their aforementioned young core would take the next step in their development and become legitimate All-Star talent. To this point, the Jays' plan has gone exceptionally well. While Springer has only appeared in 20 games due to oblique and quadriceps injuries, and Matz has mainly been mediocre (4.72 ERA), Toronto finds themselves in third place in the AL East and within striking distance of an AL Wild Card spot with 75 games remaining on their schedule. For this reason, in addition to the fact that they are hoping to (conveniently) return to the Bold North by July 30, there is perhaps no team more compelled to make a significant trade or two in the coming weeks than Toronto. What Do They Need? The Jays' offense was among the most fearsome in baseball during the first half of the season as they ranked second overall in home runs (130), OPS (.776), and OPS+ (110). Guerrero has officially completed his metamorphosis into one of the game's most feared sluggers, leading the team with 28 bombs and an absurd 1.089 OPS. Semien's production isn't far behind with his 22 homers and 4.3 WAR, and neither is Bichette's 16 dingers and 3.0 WAR. In all, the three form the foundation of a lineup that will leave any opposing pitchers shaking in their cleats should they qualify for the playoffs. While it may not be their greatest need, Toronto would likely benefit greatly from adding a fourth outfielder or a super-utility player that can slot into one of the corner outfield spots on occasion. Teoscar Hernandez, Randal Grichuk, and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. all have nice pop and are deserving to be full-time starters, but they sometimes struggle with reaching base consistently. Jonathan Davis, the Jays' primary fourth outfielder as of this writing, and his -0.3 WAR leaves a lot to be desired. Additionally, adding someone who can spell Cavan Biggio and his mediocre production at third base (.699 OPS) would be all the more valuable for Toronto. One could also argue that Toronto could benefit from buying a pure DH-type bat, but doing so would be more of a luxury than addressing a glaring need. If they believe Guerrero can be a passable first baseman and there will be enough at-bats for everybody once Springer returns to the lineup, pursuing DH options becomes much more palatable. Otherwise, Toronto would likely be better off seeking to remedy more pressing needs. Speaking of which: What the Jays truly need is pitching, particularly in the bullpen. General manager Ross Atkins told reporters in mid-June that the team would focus on adding bullpen arms as the season progressed and, so far, he has kept to his word. Toronto has already swapped first baseman Rowdy Tellez and second baseman Joe Panik for Trevor Richards and Adam Cimber to shore up the pen. (The Jays also added outfielder Corey Dickerson, though he has yet to appear in a game due to injury and a return date remains murky at best.) Still, Toronto would benefit from adding another arm, particularly one that could slot in alongside standout closer Jordan Romano in save situations and close scores late in games. Additionally, it may behoove the Jays to add one more starting pitcher. Hyun Jin Ryu and Robbie Ray have performed like legitimate number one and two options to date, but some degree of regression is inevitable. Adding a true ace or a competent number four starter would put them in a position to improve their pitching unit significantly. As a team, Toronto ranks 12th in ERA (3.99), 11th in ERA+ (112), and 16th in FIP (4.28). Which Twins Are the Best Fit? It wouldn't surprise me if reports started popping up that the Jays are among the most aggressive teams trying to pry Taylor Rogers away from the Twins. The fit makes too much sense. Toronto needs a lockdown bullpen arm, and Rogers will likely be the best reliever on the market. Add that he is left-handed while Romano is right-handed, and the fit becomes even more apparent. Similarly, Toronto is one of the more obvious landing spots for José Berríos should the Twins choose to move him. They need a pitcher with ace-level potential who lines up with the timeline of their young core. They also have a great farm system when looking strictly at their top 10 prospects, making them an ideal trade partner for the Twins. Finally, Luis Arraez's emergence as a super-utility man this season makes him a fantastic fit for Toronto. His ability to get on base would have Guerrero and company salivating, while his defensive versatility would allow for off-days for most of the Jays' primary offensive contributors. He may not be great anywhere, but Arraez is serviceable almost everywhere, and that has value. Michael Pineda, Hansel Robles, and Caleb Thielbar are also potential targets for Toronto should they seek to make a big splash elsewhere or not at all. Who Could the Twins Get Back? The Jays boast six prospects inside MLB Pipeline's top 100, headlined by No. 9 RHP Nate Pearson and No. 16 UTIL Austin Martin. Both players, including No. 90 RHP Alek Manoah, who has performed well for Toronto since being called up, are likely off-limits, even in a trade involving Berríos. Perhaps the most exciting prospect they could pry away from Toronto is No. 68 RHP Simeon Woods Richardson. Woods Richardson, who is currently pitching in Double-A at 20-years-old, stands 6-foot-3-inches tall and possesses four pitches - a fastball, slider, curve, and changeup - that are considered plus offerings. He has reasonable control and fits the physical profile that the Twins like in their pitching prospects (i.e. tall and athletic). In a best-case scenario, Woods Richardson develops into a José Berríos-Esque pitcher, making losing him more palatable for the Twins. An intriguing name that may be included in a deal for any of the three players listed above is utility man Otto Lopez. He's young, versatile on defense, has good bat-to-ball skills, and some power potential. Thus far, his power has primarily presented itself as a propensity to hit doubles, but a tweak here or there could turn that double power into home run power. Other prospects the Twins could potentially ask for are SS Jordan Groshans, ARHP Adam Kloffenstein, and CRHP CJ Van Eyk. 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. 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
  14. 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?
  15. In an interview with SiriusXM on Sunday, Minnesota Twins CBO Derek Falvey told Jon Morosi that trading a package of MLB players is ‘something we have talked about.’ With the news also breaking Sunday that Byron Buxton rejected the Twins’ long-term contract offer, the possibility that Minnesota engages in more extensive re-tooling seems to increase with each passing day. Buxton seems increasingly likely to be dealt this off-season given his currently IL status. Outstanding lefty Taylor Rogers seems likely to be dealt in the landscape of a thin relief market. José Berríos, the club’s lone recent success story in developing starting pitching seems determined to test free agency and would fetch a steep trade price. Finally, there are the rentals, with Andrelton Simmons, Michael Pineda, and Hansel Robles all strong trade possibilities ahead of Friday’s deadline. So what would a Twins ‘packaging’ of MLB players look like? What kind of return might they get? Trade 1: Twins and Blue Jays Jays Receive: RHP José Berríos and LHP Taylor Rogers Twins Receive: SS Jordan Groshans (32), RHP Simeon Woods Richardson (68), MI Miguel Hiraldo This is a certified blockbuster. It’s no secret the Jays are seeking pitching in a tight AL East and an extremely competitive AL Wild Card race. Losing Berríos and Rogers would sting, but the return is exciting. Groshans is the #32 prospect on baseball. Currently at AA, he has the tools to become a plus hitter with plus power. While the home run power hasn’t fully developed, Groshans is slugging .461 at AA in 2021. Standing at 6’3 with strong defensive instincts and an excellent arm, he may eventually be an MLB 3B. Woods Richardson is the #68 prospect in baseball. 6’5 RHP a fastball which sits 91-95 mph, solid command, two decent breaking balls (a curve and a slider), and a changeup which is regarded as the best in the system. Richardson is thought to have a high floor for a prep pitching draftee and should develop into a number two or three starter. Hiraldo is a 20-year-old MI, the number 17 prospect in the 17-18 international free agent class. Hiraldo has excellent bat speed which should develop into solid power. He has a strong throwing arm which allows him to play all infield positions. At worst, he should develop into a strong utility infielder. Trade 2: Twins and Padres Padres Receive: LHP Taylor Rogers and RHP Michael Pineda Twins Receive: RHP Mason Thompson and RHP Steven Wilson Beyond Tyler Duffey (assuming Rogers is traded) who do you feel confident about in the Twins bullpen in 2022? A second-half audition for the likes of Ian Hamilton, Jovani Moran, and Yennier Cano is surely around the corner. All that said, the Twins badly need bullpen reinforcements. In Rogers, the Padres get an outstanding back-end piece for their bullpen, and in Pineda, a starter who can offer them solid innings down the stretch. Mason Thompson was the 85th overall pick in 2016 (Padres #10 prospect). His early pro career was marred by injuries. He was finally healthy for the first time during the Padres instructional camp in 2020. Standing at 6’7, Thompson possesses a 60 grade, upper 90s fastball, and a power slider, both of which are good enough to miss bats. Thompson was added to the Padres 40 man roster in November to not expose him to the Rule 5 Draft. He projects as a late-inning reliever. Steven Wilson checks in as the Padres #16 prospect. Currently, at AAA, Wilson has a 2.03 ERA in limited 2021 action, with 23 Ks in just 13 innings. Wilson is another prototypical reliever with a power fastball/slider mix. Wilson needs to continue to refine his command, but profiles as a seventh-inning reliever at the MLB level. Trade 3: Twins and Mets Mets Receive: RHP José Berríos and SS Andrelton Simmons Twins Receive: 3B Brett Baty (73), OF Pete Crow-Armstrong, and RHP J.T. Ginn The Mets, for once, are in a strong position. With a four-game lead atop the NL East, they need to fortify their roster to make a strong post-season run. The Mets have been heavily linked with Berríos for some time. Their off-season blockbuster acquisition, Francisco Lindor, recently went on the IL with a grade 2 oblique strain. Adding Andrelton Simmons would provide meaningful defensive coverage for Lindor until he returns, and trim some 2020 payroll for the Twins. The Mets have a strong farm system and are a suitable trade partner for the Twins. In Brett Baty, the Twins acquire the #73 overall prospect in baseball. Currently, at AA, Baty is sporting a .382 OBP in over 200 ABs at Binghamton. He is on his way. Baty has gap to gap power, including opposite-field home run power. Though not an outstanding defender, Baty has the defensive capability to stick at 3B at the MLB level. Crow-Armstrong is the Mets #5 prospect and the 19th overall pick in 2020. His progress has been significantly hampered by a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder. Crow-Armstrong has plus speed and was rated as the best defender in the 2020 draft class. He has solid gap to gap power and a solid to strong hit tool. He profiles as a prototypical high average, high on-base leadoff hitter. J.T. Ginn is the Mets #6 prospect, currently at A+. Ginn had Tommy John surgery as a Sophmore in college, dropping his draft stock slightly. Ginn has a fastball that sits 91-95 mph which tops out at 97. He also possesses a promising slider and changeup. In 44 innings pitched in 2021, Ginn has a 2.44 ERA and 41Ks, to go with a cool 0.92 WHIP. Ginn profiles as a mid-rotation starting pitcher if he continues to develop after his surgery. Note: I considered Matt Allan for this trade. He recently had Tommy John surgery, making him a more murky trade asset. Would you pull the trigger on any of these trades? Which Twins players do see as most likely to be packaged together in a potential trade? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  16. 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.
  17. José Berríos: 7 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K Home Runs: None Bottom 3 WPA: Miguel Sano -.150, Ryan Jeffers -.126, Gilberto Celestino -.117 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) It was Patrick Sandoval’s world on Saturday night and the Twins were just living in it. Sandoval, who entered the game with a 3.86 ERA and 4.36 FIP in 63 innings, was spectacular all evening, striking out 13 and taking a no-hitter into the bottom of the ninth inning before the recently promoted Brent Rooker lobbed a double just inside the line in right field. Josh Donaldson followed with a double of his own two batters later to pull the Twins within 2-1 before Miguel Sanó struck out to end the game. (The Twins were limited to a paltry 29.4% hard hit percentage and struck out 14 times as a team.) Sandoval’s performance outshone that of Twins’ pitcher José Berríos, who possibly made his final start in a Twins uniform. Though his numbers won't pop off the page, Berríos was largely in control from the jump. The Twins' ace allowed two unearned runs in the top of the first inning before settling into a groove. At one point, Berríos retired 15 straight Angels before being pulled after throwing 101 pitches. He finished the night with four strikeouts in seven innings. Berríos’ name will continue to appear in copious rumors until the trade deadline passes at 3 p.m. CT this coming Friday. Though the team is asking for a monster haul in return for their two-time All-Star, Berríos will likely be the only young starting pitcher on the market who still has one year of control remaining on his contract. Because of this, rival teams will likely turn up their aggressiveness and improve their offers as the deadline approaches, which may well leave the Twins staring at an offer they can’t refuse. If they do choose to move on, Berríos will be remembered as perhaps the Twins’ best starting pitcher since Johan Santana, who was dealt to the New York Mets in the early spring of 2008. He has lived up to all expectations and then some since being selected out of Puerto Rico with the No. 32 pick in the 2012 MLB Draft. Unfortunately, all we can do now is sit on our hands and wait to see what unfolds in the coming days. Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT Colomé 0 26 22 0 11 0 59 Alcala 23 24 0 0 0 10 57 Duffey 16 0 38 0 0 0 54 Thielbar 0 17 16 0 0 16 49 Coulombe 0 5 0 32 0 0 37 Rogers 19 0 0 0 18 0 37 Robles 19 7 0 0 0 0 26 Minaya 0 0 0 0 20 0 20 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. No, the problem is not that the Twins don’t spend money, but rather that they don’t know HOW to spend money. Said another way, they don’t correctly know how to spend money. As we embark upon a quasi-deadline for homegrown talents like Byron Buxton and Jose Berrios, it seems the front office is faced with a decision to extend or deal both talents. Buxton would be looking at a payday north of $200 million as a free agent coming off a season of health. Jose Berrios wants to max out his value, and it seems he’s all but gone in this club’s mind. Those are problems, but only because they compound an already developing issue. Way back when the Twins paid Joe Mauer. He was worth every penny and was underpaid throughout his career. Nothing about his contract hamstrung a mid-market team without a salary cap. What prevented the hometown nine from winning was the lack of supplementation on the roster, both in youth and acquired talent. Fast forward to where we are now, and once again, the Twins are showing a lack of ability to spend wisely. This club paid Josh Donaldson nearly $100 million following one season with Atlanta. The Bringer of Rain posted a .259/.379/.521 slash line in 2019 while playing in 155 games. His first year in Minnesota was challenging in that the pandemic cut short any real season, but nagging leg injuries kept him to just 28 games and out of the most important during October. Look at what Donaldson has done for Minnesota, however, and it’s nothing short of what this club should’ve hoped. After his 124 OPS+ in Atlanta, Donaldson has posted a .244/.358/.485 slash and 135 OPS+ with the Twins. The slugging has slid a bit, but the ball has changed, and arguably the only knock has been losing a step defensively. After an injury-plagued season a year ago, he’s been one of the most consistently available Twins in 2021. So, here we are with a big contract given out to a free agent that’s performing, and Minnesota is looking at a teardown. Donaldson could be had for salary relief, Berrios could command prospects, and Buxton may be the most exciting asset the sport has seen in a long time. Once again, though, this club looks to have failed to spend. Over the winter, the thought process should’ve been acquiring talent to supplement this group. Alex Colome and Hansel Robles had appeal on paper, but neither is the impact arm the provides insurance for the group headlined by Taylor Rogers and Tyler Duffey. J.A. Happ and Matt Shoemaker were veteran starters with relatively decent floors, but neither would push Berrios or Kenta Maeda for the top of the rotation duty. When acquiring talent to raise the water level, this organization changed out oars and continued to tread water. Donaldson was a significant expense, and nothing was done to truly supplement him. Here we are now facing an awful result, and the outcome could be moving assets for hope in the future. Target Field was opened under the assumption that Minnesota would be able to retain its homegrown talent. Watching Buxton and Berrios be moved isn’t a reality that is supposed to take place. Suppressed payrolls for much of the past decade should pave the way for an influx of dollars to be utilized around a core that’s shown it can compete. Right now, it feels like that couldn’t be further from the truth. I don’t believe that Minnesota’s strategy should be to play in the pool near a $200 million mark. Acquiring top-tier talent only to keep them on an island and then piecing things out for another cycle when things go wrong looks like a misappropriated allocation of funds. Development isn’t linear and should be the focus internally. Still, it’s time this organization made financial commitments to those they’ve seen bear fruit and then continue to support the roster as a whole with acquired talent that makes more sense than just cents on the dollar. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  19. 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
  20. 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.
  21. Coming into 2021 this was supposed to be a good Major League roster. Rocco Baldelli was piloting a club coming off two-straight AL Central division titles, and there was no reason to believe they wouldn’t contend with the rival Chicago White Sox. Fast forward to where we are now, and the reality couldn’t be further from that promise. Minnesota has dealt with a plethora of injuries. Byron Buxton leads the team with 2.7 fWAR yet has played just 27 games. Kenta Maeda took massive steps backwards, Josh Donaldson has been good not great, and injuries have crushed the roster all over. Ineffectiveness first from the bullpen, and then sustained by the rotation, have worked wonders to sink an already bludgeoned ship. So, it’s not about if pieces move; that’s a certainty. Now, we’re going to find out if the front office sees a way forward, or if they’re admitting a massive miscalculation in what they have. As Nick Nelson pointed out yesterday, the Twins most desirable talents are a duo (trio?) of players they shouldn’t want to trade. Jose Berrios and Taylor Rogers (along with the unmentioned Buxton) are worthy of the biggest haul. For a team that should be in a position to retool and reset before 2022 kicks off, moving any of them would suggest a disbelief in that being a workable process. There’s no doubt that signing Jose Berrios and Byron Buxton to long term deals makes sense from a talent perspective. They aren’t players you can just replace, and without considering alternative ramifications, they are assets you should want on your roster until they leave on their own volition. It also stands to reason that dealing them prior to their final year of team control would increase the return. No matter what prospect capital is brought back, the impact won’t immediately be felt and may never come to fruition. Maybe Miguel Sano and Max Kepler aren’t the players Derek Falvey and Thad Levine envisioned them to be when offering contract extensions. That’s an unfortunate reality, more so with the tools Kepler should possess, but one that’s ultimately understandable. You’d be trading either at a low point in their value, but there’s a very clear backup plan in each scenario as well. Making deals that involve either of those two wouldn’t necessarily shift the future course for this club. On the flip side, having to replace the ace of a staff on a bad rotation, the lockdown arm in a bad bullpen, or arguably the most athletically-gifted player in the sport is going to be a catastrophic hurdle in the near future. If that’s what’s deemed necessary, then the ultimate direction envisioned by this front office has been incredibly poorly executed, and we’re starting over from the prospect level. Give it to Falvey and Levine; their infrastructure has seemed sound. There’s been decent development on the farm, and while injuries have hurt that progression plenty in 2021, it doesn’t take away from what appears to be coming. If a complete rebuild of the Major League roster needs to take place at this point though, it looks as if the last two division titles and supplementation of that core may have been more about timely circumstances than well designed execution. The duo doesn’t have a great free agency track record, and while they’ve made a few shrewd deals, largely they’ve failed to evaluate their own near-ready and currently available big league talent. When the calendar flips on July the Twins should have a vastly different looking roster. That’s expected. If even one of three key names move, well then, this front office has much less going for it than was originally thought. 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. What's Their Situation? The Nationals checked in at the All-Star break with a 42-47 record. They're in fourth place but only six games out of first, precisely where they sat at the break in 2019. Granted, this team is clearly in worse shape overall than that one (which was 47-42 and within closer range of a wild-card spot), but the current Nats squad should be considered a player with intent to add at the deadline. Especially because, as we'll discuss, they've got an aging veteran ace reaching the end of his deal, and a barren farm system. Now is the time to push for one more, and perhaps even add some help for the coming years. What Do They Need? You may recall that when the Nationals made their improbable run two years ago – from 19-31 in May to hoisting a trophy in October – they were fueled by star power: a three-headed monster in the rotation (Scherzer, Strasburg, Corbin), plus a lineup powered by MVP candidate Anthony Rendon and rookie phenom Juan Soto. Most of those pieces are still in place (minus Rendon), which is why it seems silly for the Nationals not to make a push. Especially because one of those remaining pieces – Max Scherzer – is at the height of his prowess. He was the All-Star Game starter and is a Cy Young front-runner. He's also 36, so it's not like he's got too many years like this left in him. This is his final year under contract with the Nats. The trouble is that, while Scherzer is the kind of horse who can carry you through a postseason, he needs some help in the rotation if they're gonna get there. Stephen Strasburg's been out almost two months weeks with a neck injury. Patrick Corbin is struggling. Jon Lester has proven to be a J.A. Happ-caliber veteran pickup. A significant outside boost for this rotation would make a world of difference, especially with Strasburg expected back around the deadline. Can a return of that three-headed monster formula in August and September fuel a familiar surge? Of course, the Nationals could also use a boost in the lineup. They rank 11th out of 15 National League teams in runs scored, despite the pre-injury slugging heroics of Kyle Schwarber. The most glaring weakness in their lineup is Rendon's former home, third base, where Starlin Castro produced 0.5 fWAR before going on administrative leave last week amidst domestic abuse allegations. Which Twins Are the Best Fit? If we're making a list of plausible destinations for Josh Donaldson, I'm pretty sure Washington is at the very top. I mean, the Nats were finalists to sign Donaldson two offseasons ago, when he opted for the Twins. They're a free-spending big-market club that could afford to take on a healthy portion of his contract. And the need at third base is crystal clear. A healthy Donaldson delivers a transformative jolt for this team, and going forward, he wouldn't be blocking anyone set to emerge from their ... thin farm system (more on that in a moment). Donaldson is, of course, a considerable risk. Maybe a bigger one than this semi-longshot wants to take on. The real prize in Washington's eyes is likely José Berríos. Adding a durable top-end starter to their rotation alongside Scherzer and Strasburg for the stretch run would give the Nats a huge boost, and Berríos' return in 2022 (at least) would help fill the void of Scherzer's potential departure as a free agent. Who Could The Twins Get Back? Here's the sticking point: Washington is not rich with prospect capital. Coming into this season, their system was ranked as the 30th out of 30 teams by MLB.com. They had only two prospects in the overall Top 100, and one of them – 2019 first-rounder Jackson Rutledge – has been hampered by shoulder issues all year. The real prize would seem to be right-hander Cade Cavalli, who ranked as MLB.com's #77 prospect before the season (two spots ahead of Jhoan Duran) and recently graduated to Double-A, where he's been missing plenty of bats. He would be an excellent get, and perhaps a worthy headliner in a Berríos package, but Cavalli is just one year removed from being drafted in the first round. He's Washington's only bona fide stud prospect and is on track to be ready next year. Are the Nats going to part with such a cost-controlled asset in exchange for the pricy proposition of acquiring and extending Berríos? If they choose to lower their sights and go for someone like Donaldson, there are plenty of interesting pieces in this system for Minnesota to pick from. Seven of Washington's top 10 prospects are pitchers, and the system has several raw young position players that could soften the blow of losing JD in a salary dump. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  23. Many assumed the Twins may consider dealing Byron Buxton and/or Jose Berrios before the upcoming trade deadline. The team is out of contention and there are no guarantees the team will be able to put the pieces back in place for next year. However, reports serviced over the weekend that the team is not necessarily inclined to trade players under team control for 2022. Minnesota was supposed vying for a third consecutive AL Central title this year, so the front office may be thinking that it will be easy to retool this winter. Maybe 2021 is just a hiccup and Minnesota will be battling Chicago at the top of the division next season. Buxton and Berrios certainly make the Twins better for 2022, but there are no guarantees either will be back for 2023. Between the two players, the Twins may have a better shot at signing Buxton to a long-term extension. Ken Rosenthal reported the Twins latest offer is more than the $70 million deal Aaron Hicks signed with the Yankees back in 2019. It also would include escalators and incentives to add to the contract’s overall value. Any Buxton extension comes with risk. This is a player that clearly can play at an MVP level, but questions about his health have followed him throughout his professional career. According to Rosenthal’s report, the Twins will try and trade Buxton, who is currently on the IL, if he turns down their current offer. That trade could happen before the deadline or this offseason. An extension for Jose Berrios might be out of the question at this point. Berrios made it clear to the Star Tribune that he is looking for a big pay day and his team wans to “see what the best deal is going to be.” Minnesota would likely need to wow him with an offer at this point to get an extension signed. Darren Wolfson reported in his most recent podcast that the Twins will need to go higher than $20 million per season to keep Berrios. He has been one of the most durable pitchers during his big-league career as he ranks 10th in innings pitched and 12th in starts since 2017. He’s also 27-years old, which is when many pitchers enter their prime. It seems unlikely for the Twins to win a bidding war for Jose Berrios if he and his management team want to go to free agency. This is a player that went through the arbitration hearing process back in 2020 because he was aware of the business side of the game. Now he wants a big pay day so other pitchers of his caliber can make more money in the future. Which player to do feel is most likely to be in a Twins uniform beyond 2022? 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
  24. What's their situation? The Mets' presence in October looks pretty likely, although it's not a sure thing. They went into the All-Star break leading the NL East by 3.5 games over the Philadelphia Phillies, with a record of 47-40. After a slow start in April, they exploded to go 17-9 in May. This helped them improve from the fourth-worst record in the NL to the top of their division by the end of the month. Winning the division – something they did last in 2015 – appears to be the safest way for them to make it into the postseason. The Los Angeles Dodgers (56-35) and the San Diego Padres (53-40), the two clubs currently in ownership of the two wild card spots, both have records considerably better than New York at this point. If one of them manages to win the NL West, the San Francisco Giants (currently at 57-32) suddenly become the Mets' competition for the wild card. New York finished the first half of the season with a winning record within the division, 19-18. But against their two main threats, the Phillies and the Braves, they are at 14-10. The Braves, unfortunately, lost Ronald Acuña Jr. for the season due to a torn ACL, so their already-average offensive productivity (100 wRC+) may take a dip during the second half. With the Mets having one of baseball's best pitching staffs, making the right additions in this trade deadline could be key to put them over the top in the NL East. Steven Cohen, the team's new boss since last October, is baseball's richest team owner with a net worth that has reached the $16 billion thresholds last April, according to Forbes. Not three months after acquiring Francisco Lindor from Cleveland last January, Cohen demonstrated his business aggressiveness and locked him up in late March with a 10-year, $341 million extension. Not only this proves his total commitment to building a World Series-caliber team, but it also puts the Mets into a very convenient position when they need to lure free agents or top trade targets into the club. Trading for and then signing Lindor to an extension wasn't the only move from the Mets for this season. Over the winter, they made some key free-agent additions, such as keeping Marcus Stroman, as well as All-Star starter Taijuan Walker, former All-Star catcher James McCann, and our dear Trevor May. The Mets being in a position of entering a pennant race after the trade deadline additions is certainly not an accident. What do they need? As good as the Mets' pitching staff has been, they could still use some help. Their starting rotation has produced 9.9 fWAR (4th most in baseball) while also having the second-best ERA, with 2.98, and the best FIP, at 3.36. However, they did that relying basically on three arms: Stroman, Walker, and Jacob deGrom, who's having one of the most dominant seasons a starting pitcher has had in years, possibly decades. Outside of the trio mentioned above, if you put together all the other pitchers who started at least one game for the Mets this season, they have a combined 4.62 ERA and 4.61 FIP. If they don't pursue pitching help now, that's the kind of productivity they'll be relying on should any severe injuries happen to one of their top three starters. Carlos Carrasco and Noah Syndergaard have slight chances of returning to the team this season, but that definitely shouldn't be something to count on. If you're the Mets, shopping for a solid starter to strengthen your rotation in the second half and into October should be your top priority. Next on their list are, of course, bats. The Mets as a team have had a very poor offense – to sugarcoat it – throughout this season, ranking 17th in wRC+ (93) and 25th in OPS (.683), while striking out 24.4% of the time, which represents the 10th highest percentage in baseball. They've produced the second-fewest runs in all of baseball so far this season, with a total of 327. deGrom, who constantly doesn't get run support from New York's lineup, has a .758 OPS, which is higher than those of seven of the eight qualified hitters in the team. Lindor appears to have found his mojo this month, but he's had an abysmal first three months as a Met, being booed several times by the fans. J.D. Davis has been sidelined for most of the season, which creates a huge gap in their lineup. Even though he's expected to be activated very soon, you have no idea what version of him is coming back from the injured list. So it makes a lot of sense to look for some help at third base. Besides, if he does come back hitting as well as he was in April, they can easily move him to one of their corner outfield spots. Good pitching is never enough, but so far, the Mets haven't been linked to any significant relief pitching rumors. They appear to be satisfied with what their bullpen is bringing to the table, a staff with a 2.12 WPA so far this season, the 12th-best in baseball. Seven of their eight most-used relievers this season have a sub-four ERA. Which Twins are the best fit? Having that in mind, the Twins may immediately become the best trading partner available for New York, as they can kill two birds with one stone by dealing with Minnesota. Josh Donaldson might not be a frontrunner, but he would be the perfect fit for the Mets. Earlier this month, it was reported that both sides started preliminary talks. However, things didn't progress. Nonetheless, 'The Bringer of Rain' is undeniably an upgrade over veteran Jonathan Villar, the Mets' primary hot corner starter this season. Donaldson's .831 OPS for the season (1.035 over his last 30 games) are considerably above Villar's .745. Besides, even with some of his defensive metrics being below his career average right now, Donaldson still provides the Mets much better defense. José Berríos is the next big thing the Twins have to offer. The former All-Star is not an ace, as we all know, but he is absolutely solid and, at 27 and under team control for this season and next, the upside is huge. After 18 starts this season, 'La Makina' is posting some career numbers, such as 3.48 ERA, 3.40 FIP, and 1.10 WHIP. In several metrics, Berríos is a superior pitcher to Walker himself, providing more strikeouts and giving up fewer walks. Having Berríos as their number three or four starter would make the Met rotation much, much scarier. Adding Berríos would also be huge for New York because both Stroman and Syndergaard will be free agents at the end of the season. The upside that he brings to the table is so significant that some Mets fans even consider him the 'condition' to accept all the potential downside of bringing in Donaldson, such as the age, the injury history, and the high salary. However, names like Kris Bryant, Adam Frazier, and Eduardo Escobar might get in the way of them making another blockbuster trade, such as the one they did with Cleveland in January. Who could the Twins get back? In mid-June, New York-based SNY presented this package in exchange for Berríos: Ronny Mauricio, a 20-year-old shortstop, is currently the organization's #2 prospect, while J.T. Ginn (RHP) is their #6, and Junior Santos (RHP) their #11. While this is a package containing some of your best-ranked prospects, looking at their productivity in the minors this season makes you think. Santos', who's only 19, still hasn't had a very good season in the Mets' system, with a 4.37 career ERA so far. On the other hand, Ginn has a solid 2.48 ERA this season, his first out of college, but the sample might still be too small to judge him. Mauricio is a very attractive piece, even though he doesn't have eye-popping numbers so far. However, it's uncertain how much the Twins would be willing to have the most valuable trade piece be a shortstop. This position already accounts for four of the team's top 30 prospects list, including their #1, Royce Lewis, and #7, Keoni Cavaco. Not to mention that Nick Gordon just made the big league team and is doing pretty well. But those are all more of a wondering than it is a reason to say no. It's hard to imagine that the Mets would toss in anything more than this for Berríos. Would they be willing to add a low-end prospect to the package in exchange for Donaldson? As much as Berríos and Donaldson would be the perfect fit for them, perhaps they won't be willing to go any higher than something similar to what's been suggested above. They could probably land a better third baseman with those same pieces if they decide to trade with some other team. At the same time, I also feel like the Twins could get a better return in exchange for Berríos. That is if they're really willing to deal him – which we aren't sure they are. 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. What's Their Situation? In baseball's toughest division, the Yankees find themselves eight games out of first place, which puts them behind three other teams. New York would need to pass Tampa, Boston and Toronto to claim the AL East crown. They may need to turn their sights to one of the two Wild Card spots and that might be tough with the other teams in front of them. The last time the Yankees missed the playoffs was back in 2016, so to avoid that fate, the Bronx Bombers are going to have to go on a second-half run to get back in the race. At the All-Star break, New York was tied with Toronto and Cleveland at 4.5 games back of a playoff spot. That's a lot of ground to make up, especially with that many teams in contention. What Do They Need? New York's most significant need is clearly in center field after Aaron Hicks suffered a season-ending wrist injury. Brett Gardner and Clint Frazier have struggled to fill in, but outfield help isn't their only need. Starting pitching depth is vital for all contenders, and New York is missing Corey Kluber (shoulder) and Luis Severino (Tommy John). The Twins have a few players that fit these needs. Which Twins Are the Best Fit? Byron Buxton is the player that can best fit the Yankees center field need, but he is still on his way back from a broken hand. Buxton can certainly still be part of a trade, but a team dealing for him likely wants to make sure he is completely healthy before pulling the trigger on a deal, especially since Buxton was bothered by a hip injury before he broke his hand. Buxton has been playing at an MVP level when on the field, which adds to his intrigue. Jose Berrios is Minnesota's most valuable trade target on the starting pitcher front, but the thought of him in a Yankee uniform is tough to swallow. Yankees GM Brian Cashman has been clear that his team will be buyers at the deadline and trading for Berrios keeps him out of other AL contender's rotations. Besides Berrios, Michael Pineda is another starting pitcher option. He is familiar with the Yankee organization, but he will need to put together some strong starts leading into the deadline. Who Could The Twins Get Back? It seems unlikely that any teams will lay a hand on Jasson Dominguez, the Yankees' top prospect, but here are some other names to consider. Clarke Schmidt, RHP, 25yo – Schmidt has yet to appear in a game this year as he rehabs from an elbow strain. He was New York's first-round pick back in 2017, and he is one of their top pitching prospects. His medical records are essential to a trade, but the Twins need starting pitching help next season, and he is close to big-league ready. Deivi Garcia, RHP, 22yo – Garcia has made eight big-league starts and allowed six earned runs in 42 2/3 innings. He is significantly younger than Schmidt, and he might have a higher upside for the long term. Also, there aren't current injury concerns with Garcia like there are with Schmidt. On national prospect lists, he is at the back end of the top-100. Luis Gil, RHP, 23yo – Gil is an intriguing name because he was initially part of the Twins organization. Back in 2018, the Twins traded him to the Yankees for Jake Cave. Gil has developed into a borderline top-100 prospect, and the Twins are familiar with his background from signing him as a teenager. He has yet to make his big-league debut, but he has posted a 3.76 ERA with 76 strikeouts in 52 2/3 innings this year. Click here to read all of Twins Daily's trade deadline coverage.
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