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  1. The Minnesota Twins came into 2020 having set a Major League record in home runs, had one of the best seasons in franchise history, and with an offense poised to set the world on fire. As with everything else this year, very little has gone as expected. Now on the final day to make some roster swaps, it isn’t time to push the panic button. Major League Baseball bumped the trade deadline back to August 31st this year in order to accommodate a sensible timeline amidst a 60-game sprint. Minnesota currently stands at 20-15 looking up at both the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians in the AL Central division. While division titles are nice, they couldn’t mean less this year. The top seeds will still face a club with a winning record, and they’ll do so in just a three-game series. I love the idea of adding Trevor Bauer to this club, solely because it’s my belief he’s the only pitcher capable of slotting into the top of Minnesota’s rotation. Although he’s a short-term rental and would make something like 5-8 starts, maybe the familiarity helps to re-sign him this offseason. Outside of that, any move should come with a future caveat as well. Next season the Twins will need to replace three-fifths of their Opening Day starting rotation. Trevor May is an impending free agent, and Nelson Cruz’s status remains up in the air. While the core of this club remains strong, there’s certainly pieces that will need to be shuffled around. For Minnesota to target an asset in the midst of a volatile year, and only have eyes on making it pay off immediately, would be a misstep. In any season there’s a relative amount of luck when it comes to winning a World Series. Doing so amongst a 16-team playoff field, with no fans, and potentially no home field to speak of, is a crapshoot at best. That doesn’t water down winning a ring this year, everyone is dealing with the same conditions, but it does make operating in a traditional sense irrational. Maybe a reunion with Lance Lynn works out. He’s a really good pitcher that really didn’t like his situation back in 2018. Maybe Dylan Bundy and his slider are another weapon for Wes Johnson and the Minnesota brain trust to deploy. Those are the types of moves that have future benefit too. Do you go all in on Josh Hader? That’s a great arm in play as well. No matter what the Twins do though, having more benefit than just 2020 has to be part of the outcome. There’s no doubt this club is going to make the Postseason. There’s no doubt the healthy version of their lineup is a force to be reckoned with. The greatest doubt is how it all comes together the rest of the way, and then when 2021 rolls around, what remains when the dust has settled? For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  2. Minnesota’s Weaknesses Entering the season, Minnesota was perceived to have one of the strongest line-ups in baseball. That hasn’t been the case so far as the Twins have struggled through injuries to regular starters like Mitch Garver, Byron Buxton, Josh Donaldson, and Luis Arraez. This has resulted in making nearly everyday players out of Ryan Jeffers, Jake Cave, Marwin Gonzalez and Ildemaro Vargas. It’s easy to think the Twins need replacements for these players, but the best thing for the team would be for their injured players to be healthy and producing as the team enters the playoffs. Last season, Minnesota’s biggest weakness was pitching, and this was especially true for the bullpen. This is why the team made multiple deadline deals for bullpen help. The Twins relief core has turned into one of the team’s strengths over the last year and that might mean the team isn’t looking to upgrade unless there is some player control involved. Minnesota’s starting rotation has seen multiple injuries, but the team depth in this department. Possible Trade Options Lance Lynn, Texas Lynn has been good since leaving the Twins in 2018. Last season with Texas, he posted a 3.67 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP in over 200 innings. He struck out 246 batters and only walked 59 on his way to finishing in the top-five for the Cy Young. In just over 100 innings with the Twins, Lynn had an ERA north of 5.00 and he didn’t exactly leave the team on good terms. He is under team control through 2021 and the Rangers are within a handful of games of a playoff spot, and he could be one player for the team to avoid. Trevor Rosenthal, Kansas City Minnesota might be hesitant about trading with another team in the division, but Rosenthal might be the ideal candidate. He was signed to a minor league deal in Kansas City and he has been outstanding through the season’s first half. So far, he has limited batters to two runs on seven hits in 12 appearances (11 1/3 innings). This includes a 1.06 WHIP and a 15 to 5 strike out to walk ratio. Kansas City is in a similar position to the Rangers so the team will have to decide if they want to trade pieces away. Keone Kela, Pittsburgh Unlike the team’s above, Pittsburgh is clearly not making the playoffs, but Kela is going to have to prove he is healthy over the next week. He left a game last Friday after five pitches as the Pirates revealed he had right forearm tightness. He is a free agent at season’s end, and it seems likely for him to be dealt if he is healthy. Kela has been limited this season because of a positive coronavirus test and this most recent injury. Dylan Bundy, Los Angeles Bundy might be one of the hottest names tossed around in rumors leading up to the deadline. The Angels have struggled this season and currently have one of baseball’s worst records. He is under team control through the 2021 season. So far this season, he ranks in the 80th percentile when it comes to fastball spin rate, hard-hit rate, and opponents’ exit velocity. Increased use in his slider has been part of his success and that has been something the Twins have harnessed with other current pitchers. Mychal Givens, Baltimore Givens has been dominant out of the Orioles bullpen this year and he has some intriguing traits the Twins might be interested in. Firstly, he is under team control through the end of 2021. Secondly, his slider has gotten hitters to whiff on it over 40% of the time. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and his increased usage of his slider is certainly intriguing. Minnesota might not need a ton of bullpen help but Givens could certainly provide a boost. There are three right-handed hitters that could be intriguing with some of Minnesota’s top right-handed bats on the injured list. Another possible pitching option is a man that’s boisterous on social media, but he is a free agent at season’s end and that could make him tradeable. What’s Going to Happen? Overall, it seems likely for the trade deadline to be relatively quiet when compared to recent years. Few owners and front offices are going to be willing to take on significant contracts with the uncertainty facing baseball in 2021. Baseball has dodged a few bullets this season, but no one is sure of the long-term ramifications of no fans in the stands and other lost revenue. Minnesota also has the luxury of Michael Pineda being added back to the rotation at the end of August. His addition could be construed as trading for rotation help. Jake Odorizzi, Rich Hill, and Homer Bailey have all seen time on the injured list this year and adding Pineda only strengthens the depth of a rotation that has been stretched this season. The last time the Twins saw Pineda, he was amid a tremendous stretch on the mound and he will have the month of September to get back on track. What do you think the Twins will do at the trade deadline? Add an arm? Add to the line-up? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  3. In a strange and shortened MLB season, the trade deadline is certainly going to take on a different feel. Sixteen total playoff teams means that most teams are still in the postseason hunt. This could result in a much different feel as the trade deadline approaches. What teams are going to be willing to trade? How are teams going to approach taking on salary in a year with less revenue? Let’s find out…Minnesota’s Weaknesses Entering the season, Minnesota was perceived to have one of the strongest line-ups in baseball. That hasn’t been the case so far as the Twins have struggled through injuries to regular starters like Mitch Garver, Byron Buxton, Josh Donaldson, and Luis Arraez. This has resulted in making nearly everyday players out of Ryan Jeffers, Jake Cave, Marwin Gonzalez and Ildemaro Vargas. It’s easy to think the Twins need replacements for these players, but the best thing for the team would be for their injured players to be healthy and producing as the team enters the playoffs. Last season, Minnesota’s biggest weakness was pitching, and this was especially true for the bullpen. This is why the team made multiple deadline deals for bullpen help. The Twins relief core has turned into one of the team’s strengths over the last year and that might mean the team isn’t looking to upgrade unless there is some player control involved. Minnesota’s starting rotation has seen multiple injuries, but the team depth in this department. Possible Trade Options Lance Lynn, Texas Lynn has been good since leaving the Twins in 2018. Last season with Texas, he posted a 3.67 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP in over 200 innings. He struck out 246 batters and only walked 59 on his way to finishing in the top-five for the Cy Young. In just over 100 innings with the Twins, Lynn had an ERA north of 5.00 and he didn’t exactly leave the team on good terms. He is under team control through 2021 and the Rangers are within a handful of games of a playoff spot, and he could be one player for the team to avoid. Trevor Rosenthal, Kansas City Minnesota might be hesitant about trading with another team in the division, but Rosenthal might be the ideal candidate. He was signed to a minor league deal in Kansas City and he has been outstanding through the season’s first half. So far, he has limited batters to two runs on seven hits in 12 appearances (11 1/3 innings). This includes a 1.06 WHIP and a 15 to 5 strike out to walk ratio. Kansas City is in a similar position to the Rangers so the team will have to decide if they want to trade pieces away. Keone Kela, Pittsburgh Unlike the team’s above, Pittsburgh is clearly not making the playoffs, but Kela is going to have to prove he is healthy over the next week. He left a game last Friday after five pitches as the Pirates revealed he had right forearm tightness. He is a free agent at season’s end, and it seems likely for him to be dealt if he is healthy. Kela has been limited this season because of a positive coronavirus test and this most recent injury. Dylan Bundy, Los Angeles Bundy might be one of the hottest names tossed around in rumors leading up to the deadline. The Angels have struggled this season and currently have one of baseball’s worst records. He is under team control through the 2021 season. So far this season, he ranks in the 80th percentile when it comes to fastball spin rate, hard-hit rate, and opponents’ exit velocity. Increased use in his slider has been part of his success and that has been something the Twins have harnessed with other current pitchers. Mychal Givens, Baltimore Givens has been dominant out of the Orioles bullpen this year and he has some intriguing traits the Twins might be interested in. Firstly, he is under team control through the end of 2021. Secondly, his slider has gotten hitters to whiff on it over 40% of the time. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and his increased usage of his slider is certainly intriguing. Minnesota might not need a ton of bullpen help but Givens could certainly provide a boost. There are three right-handed hitters that could be intriguing with some of Minnesota’s top right-handed bats on the injured list. Another possible pitching option is a man that’s boisterous on social media, but he is a free agent at season’s end and that could make him tradeable. What’s Going to Happen? Overall, it seems likely for the trade deadline to be relatively quiet when compared to recent years. Few owners and front offices are going to be willing to take on significant contracts with the uncertainty facing baseball in 2021. Baseball has dodged a few bullets this season, but no one is sure of the long-term ramifications of no fans in the stands and other lost revenue. Minnesota also has the luxury of Michael Pineda being added back to the rotation at the end of August. His addition could be construed as trading for rotation help. Jake Odorizzi, Rich Hill, and Homer Bailey have all seen time on the injured list this year and adding Pineda only strengthens the depth of a rotation that has been stretched this season. The last time the Twins saw Pineda, he was amid a tremendous stretch on the mound and he will have the month of September to get back on track. What do you think the Twins will do at the trade deadline? Add an arm? Add to the line-up? 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 Click here to view the article
  4. This is an except of a post that originated at Zone Coverage; please read the entire thing here. The 2016 season opened with a walk-off loss for the Minnesota Twins in Baltimore. Then again, it also began with Miguel Sano playing right field, so the parallels probably stop there. But the Twins opened the 2018 season in stunningly similar fashion to two years ago, when the wheels fell all the way off on the path to a 103-loss season, the No. 1 overall pick and the bouncing bundle of prospect joy that is Royce Lewis. This team is probably just a bit more well-prepared to stomach such a loss, even without Ervin Santana for probably the next six weeks. Santana started that fateful game against the Orioles in early April 2016, but both he and Chris Tillman were bounced early after a nearly two-hour rain delay. Another delay two innings later meant the teams spent almost six hours at the ballpark with under three hours of game time to show for it. It’s hard to come up with a better metaphor for the 2016 season, but either way, we’ll save that for a rainy day. The weather was just fine as the Twins again fell 3-2 on Opening Day to the Orioles, this time off the bat of Adam Jones instead of Matt Wieters. Jones attacked the first pitch he, or any hitter for that matter, saw from Fernando Rodney in the bottom of the 11th, ambushing a 92 mph two-seam fastball and driving it deep into a sea of orange. For the first six innings of the game, the attention was on the starters. Dylan Bundy kept the Twins in check as he tossed seven shutout frames, while Jake Odorizzi did the same through six before handing things off to Zach Duke. That’s where things got dicey. Trey Mancini struck out swinging, but Jason Castro was unable to corral the third strike. Mancini reached first, then took second on another wild pitch before Duke eventually fanned Tim Beckham. Former Twin Danny Valencia pinch-hit for designated hitter Pedro Alvarez, and was intentionally walked to set up a possible double play off the bat of Craig Gentry. Earlier in the game, Gentry had robbed Twins left fielder Eddie Rosario of a home run with a terrific leaping catch at the fence in right-center. Gentry struck out swinging, but with two outs, No. 9 hitter Caleb Joseph stroked a first-pitch triple into the right-center gap, bringing home both Mancini and Valencia to give the O’s a 2-0 lead. Duke recovered to strike Chris Davis out looking for the rarely-seen fourth strikeout of the inning, something he told reporters afterward he’d only ever done before in high school. According to Baseball Almanac, that’s the fourth time in Twins history that a pitcher has fanned four batters in an inning, though all have happened in the last decade. Scott Baker (June 15, 2008), Francisco Liriano (June 5, 2012) and Tyler Duffey (May 8, 2016) were the first three. Both Twins runs came in the ninth off interim closer Brad Brach, who is filling in while Zach Britton recovers from a ruptured Achilles. Sano struck out swinging, and Rosario followed with a grounder to first that Davis couldn’t handle — which was somehow ruled a single. Rosario took second on a wild pitch, and Logan Morrison walked with Ryan LaMarre coming in to run for him. After Eduardo Escobar struck out on a full count pitch down in the zone, Max Kepler set the standard for best plate appearance of the year early, as he fought off multiple tough pitches before taking an 11-pitch walk to load the bases. Molitor made the second — or third, depending on your mileage — decision of the day that left some fans scratching their heads as he had Robbie Grossman pinch-hit for Byron Buxton, but it paid off as Robbie’s flare into left-center landed just beyond the glove of Orioles shortstop Manny Machado to tie the game. However, that was all the Twins offense was able to put together, with Jones sending the hometown fans happy after a couple innings of bonus baseball.
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