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  1. Although this is trade deadline season, roster decisions aren’t just going to be made from the perspective of adding talent. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine will be tasked with figuring out which players make sense on the active roster now, and who they see as needing to be a part of the future. Considering three external options and one internal, which of the four following scenarios winds up being the most seismic move made in Twins Territory over the next week? 1. Miguel Sano gets DFA’d Having last played on April 30 and then undergoing knee surgery, Sano has found himself working his way back yet again. He began a rehab assignment on July 4 and posted a very strong 1.217 OPS across 12 games in his 20 allowable days. The biggest detractor for any team being interested in acquiring Sano is the correlation between production and pay. He’s still owed something north of $6 million combining the duration of this season and his buyout. Minnesota could swallow some of that when trying to find a trade partner, but he could also be a candidate to be DFA’d. Sano has had ups and downs in a Twins uniform, but leaving in a season having played less than 25 games and with a sub .500 OPS would be about as low as it gets. 2. A Frontline Starter is Acquired Fans have been clamoring since the offseason for Minnesota to acquire top-tier pitching. Sonny Gray qualified as that when the front office flipped former first-round pick Chase Petty. It’s clear that this rotation could use someone of equal or similar-ilk when looking towards the Postseason. There are not exactly that many names out there to be had, but this group would look like a deal for Frankie Montas, a pact for Luis Castillo, acquiring Tyler Mahle, or potentially netting Blake Snell. There are other starters that will be moved, but it’s hard to come up with many more names that will reach this level. 3. High-Leverage Relief is Grabbed Alongside a starter, Minnesota absolutely needs help in the bullpen. It’s been one of the worst units in the league for significant stretches this season, and outside of Jhoan Duran, the group has largely been shuffling deck chairs. It’s good that Tyler Duffey seems to have turned a corner, and maybe someone else emerges down the stretch, but it’s hard to view Jorge Alcala as a potential to return prominently at this point. A reliever in this category would be along the lines of Pirates All-Star David Bednar or Rockies closer Daniel Bard. If the Twins are going to be serious about the bullpen, they need a mate for Duran and someone that can confidently eat outs in the late innings. 4. Shock the Lineup With a Bat Arguably one of the hottest and coldest things for Rocco Baldelli’s club this season has been the lineup and run production. The worst position on the roster offensively has been behind the plate, and that was before Ryan Jeffers suffered a two-month injury. There aren't a ton of places for the Twins to prioritize a bat, but a backstop could be it. Willson Contreras is all but certain to be moved by the Cubs, and although it’s a luxury, man would that elevate Minnesota on both sides of the ball. Bovada also tabbed Minnesota as favorites to acquire the Nationals Jose Bell, which would be an odd fit, but he’s certainly been great this season. Which of these scenarios would be most surprising to you? Which one seems most likely?
  2. The Minnesota Twins are guaranteed to be active during the next week. They have some significant roster decisions to address, both from an internal and talent acquisition standpoint. Looking at a few possibilities, all of the options could send substantial waves throughout the organization. Although this is trade deadline season, roster decisions aren’t just going to be made from the perspective of adding talent. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine will be tasked with figuring out which players make sense on the active roster now, and who they see as needing to be a part of the future. Considering three external options and one internal, which of the four following scenarios winds up being the most seismic move made in Twins Territory over the next week? 1. Miguel Sano gets DFA’d Having last played on April 30 and then undergoing knee surgery, Sano has found himself working his way back yet again. He began a rehab assignment on July 4 and posted a very strong 1.217 OPS across 12 games in his 20 allowable days. The biggest detractor for any team being interested in acquiring Sano is the correlation between production and pay. He’s still owed something north of $6 million combining the duration of this season and his buyout. Minnesota could swallow some of that when trying to find a trade partner, but he could also be a candidate to be DFA’d. Sano has had ups and downs in a Twins uniform, but leaving in a season having played less than 25 games and with a sub .500 OPS would be about as low as it gets. 2. A Frontline Starter is Acquired Fans have been clamoring since the offseason for Minnesota to acquire top-tier pitching. Sonny Gray qualified as that when the front office flipped former first-round pick Chase Petty. It’s clear that this rotation could use someone of equal or similar-ilk when looking towards the Postseason. There are not exactly that many names out there to be had, but this group would look like a deal for Frankie Montas, a pact for Luis Castillo, acquiring Tyler Mahle, or potentially netting Blake Snell. There are other starters that will be moved, but it’s hard to come up with many more names that will reach this level. 3. High-Leverage Relief is Grabbed Alongside a starter, Minnesota absolutely needs help in the bullpen. It’s been one of the worst units in the league for significant stretches this season, and outside of Jhoan Duran, the group has largely been shuffling deck chairs. It’s good that Tyler Duffey seems to have turned a corner, and maybe someone else emerges down the stretch, but it’s hard to view Jorge Alcala as a potential to return prominently at this point. A reliever in this category would be along the lines of Pirates All-Star David Bednar or Rockies closer Daniel Bard. If the Twins are going to be serious about the bullpen, they need a mate for Duran and someone that can confidently eat outs in the late innings. 4. Shock the Lineup With a Bat Arguably one of the hottest and coldest things for Rocco Baldelli’s club this season has been the lineup and run production. The worst position on the roster offensively has been behind the plate, and that was before Ryan Jeffers suffered a two-month injury. There aren't a ton of places for the Twins to prioritize a bat, but a backstop could be it. Willson Contreras is all but certain to be moved by the Cubs, and although it’s a luxury, man would that elevate Minnesota on both sides of the ball. Bovada also tabbed Minnesota as favorites to acquire the Nationals Jose Bell, which would be an odd fit, but he’s certainly been great this season. Which of these scenarios would be most surprising to you? Which one seems most likely? View full article
  3. This five-point scoring system runs on five factors: player, projection, availability, expected cost, and viability: higher score = a better target for the Twins. THE FIVE FACTORS PLAYER: How has the player performed? How much of a difference would they make for the Twins? PROJECTION: Is there an upside with this player? Is there team control beyond this year? Are there injury concerns? AVAILABILITY: Is the player actually on the trade block? EXPECTED COST: What will it take to acquire this player, in prospect capital and dollars? VIABILITY: What’s the leaguewide desire for this player? Would the Twins have a chance in a bidding war? There’s been a considerable buzz with Oakland Athletics’ starter Frankie Montas over the last six months. Does a trade still make sense for the Twins? Let’s break it down. PLAYER Montas, 29, has become a high-quality workhorse. He’s thrown 283 2/3 innings since the start of last year with an ERA that’s 18% better than the league average. Montas has struck out 26% of batters in that span, with a 7% walk rate and 3.35 FIP. He’s rock solid. Thankfully, Montas has cut down on his sinker usage from a year ago. The pitch continues to get crushed, but he’s finally throwing it less and relying more on two, plus offspeed pitches. His four-seam fastball averages 96 mph and is a weapon when he pumps it up in the zone. Montas’ best pitch is a swing-and-miss splitter, but his slider has strong characteristics with a 40% whiff rate in 2022. The big right-hander has a complete array of weapons, and there’s room for upside with a few more tweaks. PLAYER SCORE: 4 PROJECTION Any team that acquires Montas assumes the risk of his latest shoulder problem, which may or may not be a red flag. Encouragingly, he expects to log multiple starts before the trade deadline. He’s under team control through 2023. Montas has an electric arm, one that has ace potential. He’s not quite there yet, but a few tweaks could unlock a true star. I believe an acquiring team would encourage him to drop his sinker usage from 22% to 0%. The sooner Montas is a three-pitch pitcher, the better. His four-seamer has good spin and works best off his splitter and slider. Montas throws his sinker and four-seamer an identical 24.6% of the time against lefties. Against the sinker, they’re hitting .353 with a .647 slugging percentage. Against the four-seamer, they’re hitting .216 with a .297 slugging percentage. Easy fixes if Montas buys in. PROJECTION SCORE: 3 AVAILABILITY The A’s have shopped Montas for months as they embark on a complete rebuild. They traded Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Chris Bassitt, and Sean Manaea but interestingly held onto Montas. It’s conceivable they were encouraged when the Twins received (at the time) a hefty package for 1.5 years of José Berríos. Montas’ health could be a significant enough deterrent that the A’s hold onto him until the winter. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where they receive more for him this offseason, though, which makes it highly likely he’s traded at the deadline. Still, these are the A’s, and you never really know. AVAILABILITY SCORE: 4 EXPECTED COST Montas is the second-best starter on the market behind only Luis Castillo. If he showcases his health and teams feel comfortable enough, Montas should command at least one top-100 prospect and multiple more top prospects from a contender’s system. Montas’ contract should attract the Twins, given that they expect to compete again in 2023. On the flip side, his team control for next year significantly increases his price. The A’s have reportedly been interested in Spencer Steer, which is at least interesting. According to MLB Trade Simulator, a deal including Spencer Steer and Josh Winder would get it done. The tool is far from perfect, but that’s a package very similar to what the Twins got for Berríos last year. EXPECTED COST: 2 VIABILITY The Twins’ interest in Montas is well-documented. He’s a good, young, controllable starter with upside. It’d be odd if they didn’t have interest in him. There will be many teams in the running. Montas’ shoulder questions could allow the Twins to jump the market, but a few healthy starts may be enough to convince teams he’s worth the risk. There are plenty of suitors, making it reasonably unlikely the Twins will outbid to acquire him. VIABILITY SCORE: 2 The Montas situation has changed a few ways, specifically with his health. The Twins would be taking a risk on him while losing multiple top prospects. He is a game-one starter, but is he worth it? Comment below! OVERALL SCORE: 15
  4. Trade season is fast approaching. The Twins have only eight more games until the deadline, and they must improve the club if they want to find success in the second half and into the postseason. This five-point scoring system runs on five factors: player, projection, availability, expected cost, and viability: higher score = a better target for the Twins. THE FIVE FACTORS PLAYER: How has the player performed? How much of a difference would they make for the Twins? PROJECTION: Is there an upside with this player? Is there team control beyond this year? Are there injury concerns? AVAILABILITY: Is the player actually on the trade block? EXPECTED COST: What will it take to acquire this player, in prospect capital and dollars? VIABILITY: What’s the leaguewide desire for this player? Would the Twins have a chance in a bidding war? There’s been a considerable buzz with Oakland Athletics’ starter Frankie Montas over the last six months. Does a trade still make sense for the Twins? Let’s break it down. PLAYER Montas, 29, has become a high-quality workhorse. He’s thrown 283 2/3 innings since the start of last year with an ERA that’s 18% better than the league average. Montas has struck out 26% of batters in that span, with a 7% walk rate and 3.35 FIP. He’s rock solid. Thankfully, Montas has cut down on his sinker usage from a year ago. The pitch continues to get crushed, but he’s finally throwing it less and relying more on two, plus offspeed pitches. His four-seam fastball averages 96 mph and is a weapon when he pumps it up in the zone. Montas’ best pitch is a swing-and-miss splitter, but his slider has strong characteristics with a 40% whiff rate in 2022. The big right-hander has a complete array of weapons, and there’s room for upside with a few more tweaks. PLAYER SCORE: 4 PROJECTION Any team that acquires Montas assumes the risk of his latest shoulder problem, which may or may not be a red flag. Encouragingly, he expects to log multiple starts before the trade deadline. He’s under team control through 2023. Montas has an electric arm, one that has ace potential. He’s not quite there yet, but a few tweaks could unlock a true star. I believe an acquiring team would encourage him to drop his sinker usage from 22% to 0%. The sooner Montas is a three-pitch pitcher, the better. His four-seamer has good spin and works best off his splitter and slider. Montas throws his sinker and four-seamer an identical 24.6% of the time against lefties. Against the sinker, they’re hitting .353 with a .647 slugging percentage. Against the four-seamer, they’re hitting .216 with a .297 slugging percentage. Easy fixes if Montas buys in. PROJECTION SCORE: 3 AVAILABILITY The A’s have shopped Montas for months as they embark on a complete rebuild. They traded Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Chris Bassitt, and Sean Manaea but interestingly held onto Montas. It’s conceivable they were encouraged when the Twins received (at the time) a hefty package for 1.5 years of José Berríos. Montas’ health could be a significant enough deterrent that the A’s hold onto him until the winter. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where they receive more for him this offseason, though, which makes it highly likely he’s traded at the deadline. Still, these are the A’s, and you never really know. AVAILABILITY SCORE: 4 EXPECTED COST Montas is the second-best starter on the market behind only Luis Castillo. If he showcases his health and teams feel comfortable enough, Montas should command at least one top-100 prospect and multiple more top prospects from a contender’s system. Montas’ contract should attract the Twins, given that they expect to compete again in 2023. On the flip side, his team control for next year significantly increases his price. The A’s have reportedly been interested in Spencer Steer, which is at least interesting. According to MLB Trade Simulator, a deal including Spencer Steer and Josh Winder would get it done. The tool is far from perfect, but that’s a package very similar to what the Twins got for Berríos last year. EXPECTED COST: 2 VIABILITY The Twins’ interest in Montas is well-documented. He’s a good, young, controllable starter with upside. It’d be odd if they didn’t have interest in him. There will be many teams in the running. Montas’ shoulder questions could allow the Twins to jump the market, but a few healthy starts may be enough to convince teams he’s worth the risk. There are plenty of suitors, making it reasonably unlikely the Twins will outbid to acquire him. VIABILITY SCORE: 2 The Montas situation has changed a few ways, specifically with his health. The Twins would be taking a risk on him while losing multiple top prospects. He is a game-one starter, but is he worth it? Comment below! OVERALL SCORE: 15 View full article
  5. Let’s get one thing out of the way immediately: this is not a pre-emptive defense of the team if they fail to make a big splash; anyone who implies so in the comments will have their thinking privileges taken away. Pointing out the challenges of navigating the trade deadline in 2022 is not equal to offering consent for possible inaction. When we speak of trading for a player, it’s easy to allude vaguely to quality players, veterans on poor teams begging to find a more successful franchise to aid with their incredible skills. We look to the Nether, or the Upside-Down, and claim that Capable Reliever is sitting there, moping around on Bad Team, waiting for a Better Franchise to scoop them up. Yes, players like that exist on losing teams, but they must be specifically identified, not nebulously referred to. Finding that player is going to be harder this season; the extra wild card playoff spot ensures that the typical suspects—the Yankees, the Red Sox, and the Dodgers—will have company as teams who otherwise never had a chance—those sitting around .500 looking at the third wild card spot—are now likely to enter the negotiation table as a buyer. It may not seem like a significant calculus change, but 17 teams either claim a playoff spot or sit no further than three games away from one; that’s a lopsided field. At the deadline in 2021, there were only 12 such franchises. Most teams in MLB should legitimately enter into trade negotiations, shooting up the value of the few coveted players on bad teams. It’s double jeopardy; each franchise that doesn’t sell will likely become one to buy. In a pool of 30 teams, each minor shift could drastically alter the deadline’s power balance. The Twins are in a bad spot for another reason: they’re basic. What pieces do they need the most? Starting and relief pitchers. What players do most buyers need every year? Starting and relief pitchers. When 10 teams want Tyler Mahle as well, you will have to part with much better prospects than you anticipated to deal; if the team plays as conservative as they have under this regime at past deadlines, they’ll end up with some bubblegum and a Wade Boggs rookie card. The aforementioned Mahle, Frankie Montas, and Luis Castillo; relievers like David Robertson, Scott Effross, and David Bednar; such players will be involved in enormous bidding wars, more so than usual. The Twins could easily find themselves with S*m D*s*n 2.0 if they are too careful. All of this—the messy trade deadline combined with a team needing reinforcements and a Carlos Correa contract drama that this article didn’t even touch on—must force the Twins’ hand and move them away from conservatism. If they repeat their strategy in 2019 and avoid pushing beyond comfort for the big splash, they’ll have no chance at acquiring the player talent they need; other teams will overwhelm them with competitive offers. Will it happen? The front office proved capable of some genuinely chaotic moves when they dealt their recent first-round pick for Sonny Gray, then shocked baseball by swiping Carlos Correa up in free agency; signing Josh Donaldson and dealing a top prospect in Brusdar Graterol for Kenta Maeda broke the mold as well. They may be working on an absurd deal as we wait. Until that trade bursts through to the public through a Jeff Passan tweet, we can only imagine the deals teams are discussing. The extra few legitimate buyers could alter the negotiations, upsetting the dynamic by limiting who is available to franchises looking to win. The Twins will need to continue acting aggressively, remembering that prospects often bust while flags fly forever.
  6. Recently, there has been one consistent chorus amongst Twins fans, sung with such coordination that they could adequately back up on a Queen track: “when the Twins add at the deadline…” Indeed, even this author has dabbled in assuming this, but finding a proper trade may be a trickier proposition than we think. Let’s get one thing out of the way immediately: this is not a pre-emptive defense of the team if they fail to make a big splash; anyone who implies so in the comments will have their thinking privileges taken away. Pointing out the challenges of navigating the trade deadline in 2022 is not equal to offering consent for possible inaction. When we speak of trading for a player, it’s easy to allude vaguely to quality players, veterans on poor teams begging to find a more successful franchise to aid with their incredible skills. We look to the Nether, or the Upside-Down, and claim that Capable Reliever is sitting there, moping around on Bad Team, waiting for a Better Franchise to scoop them up. Yes, players like that exist on losing teams, but they must be specifically identified, not nebulously referred to. Finding that player is going to be harder this season; the extra wild card playoff spot ensures that the typical suspects—the Yankees, the Red Sox, and the Dodgers—will have company as teams who otherwise never had a chance—those sitting around .500 looking at the third wild card spot—are now likely to enter the negotiation table as a buyer. It may not seem like a significant calculus change, but 17 teams either claim a playoff spot or sit no further than three games away from one; that’s a lopsided field. At the deadline in 2021, there were only 12 such franchises. Most teams in MLB should legitimately enter into trade negotiations, shooting up the value of the few coveted players on bad teams. It’s double jeopardy; each franchise that doesn’t sell will likely become one to buy. In a pool of 30 teams, each minor shift could drastically alter the deadline’s power balance. The Twins are in a bad spot for another reason: they’re basic. What pieces do they need the most? Starting and relief pitchers. What players do most buyers need every year? Starting and relief pitchers. When 10 teams want Tyler Mahle as well, you will have to part with much better prospects than you anticipated to deal; if the team plays as conservative as they have under this regime at past deadlines, they’ll end up with some bubblegum and a Wade Boggs rookie card. The aforementioned Mahle, Frankie Montas, and Luis Castillo; relievers like David Robertson, Scott Effross, and David Bednar; such players will be involved in enormous bidding wars, more so than usual. The Twins could easily find themselves with S*m D*s*n 2.0 if they are too careful. All of this—the messy trade deadline combined with a team needing reinforcements and a Carlos Correa contract drama that this article didn’t even touch on—must force the Twins’ hand and move them away from conservatism. If they repeat their strategy in 2019 and avoid pushing beyond comfort for the big splash, they’ll have no chance at acquiring the player talent they need; other teams will overwhelm them with competitive offers. Will it happen? The front office proved capable of some genuinely chaotic moves when they dealt their recent first-round pick for Sonny Gray, then shocked baseball by swiping Carlos Correa up in free agency; signing Josh Donaldson and dealing a top prospect in Brusdar Graterol for Kenta Maeda broke the mold as well. They may be working on an absurd deal as we wait. Until that trade bursts through to the public through a Jeff Passan tweet, we can only imagine the deals teams are discussing. The extra few legitimate buyers could alter the negotiations, upsetting the dynamic by limiting who is available to franchises looking to win. The Twins will need to continue acting aggressively, remembering that prospects often bust while flags fly forever. View full article
  7. Looking at teams that could consider being sellers, I came up with 49 names as part of a Trade Deadline Manifesto. Any number of those players could be had, and there will be plenty of buyers looking to acquire their talents. Although Minnesota could use a bat, and now with the injury to Ryan Jeffers, some catching help, the focus should still be on the mound. Using Baseball Trade Values in an attempt to build some realistic packages, here’s a trio of options for Minnesota to consider. Working from a starter to a package and finally just bullpen help, you decide if the juice is worth the squeeze on any of these swaps. Minnesota Twins get: Frankie Montas Oakland Athletics get: Spencer Steer, Matt Canterino, Steven Hajjar, Marco Raya Arguably the most discussed name on the open market, Montas’ value is a complete question mark right now due to his health. If the shoulder isn’t serious, he’s going to be moved and Oakland should command a haul. He’s probably not quite the level of Luis Castillo, but that could help Minnesota’s chances to land him. Whatever you make of it, they are currently the betting favorite to do so per Bovada. Netting an ace like Montas, who is also under team control through 2023, isn’t going to come cheap. In this scenario, Minnesota would need to part with one of their Futures Game participants in Steer. Canterino is probably a reliever, but he could be an elite one at that. Hajjar is a former 2nd round pick, while Raya was a 4th round pick. Both have started their professional careers on a high note and the early returns look promising. It’s fair to suggest this may still not be enough and that makes the Twins give even greater. Minnesota Twins get: Jose Quintana, David Bednar Pittsburgh Pirates get: Matt Wallner, David Festa, Aaron Sabato This is a tricky swap given the amount of team control Bednar still has to his credit. He’s a reliever and is already 27-years-old, but he also has earned his first All-Star appearance and looks the part of among the best arms on the market. Quintana has thrived for the Pirates and has previously experienced success as a frontline starter. He’s a free agent at the end of the season, but could provide valuable innings down the stretch. With Ke’Bryan Hayes and O’Neil Cruz manning the left side of the infield, Pittsburgh may be more inclined to target Wallner from the Twins than Steer. Festa was a 13th round pick out of Seton Hall, but he’s posted a dominant 2.01 ERA across his first 80 2/3 professional innings. The hope for the Pirates on Sabato would be that a change of scenery could help him. He’s flopped hard as a big bat prospect that’s limited to anything beyond first base. This could be an area for additional value to be squeezed from this trade if they are able to make it work. Depending on the market for Bednar, this return could be entirely too light. Minnesota Twins get: Daniel Bard Colorado Rockies get: Kala’i Rosario, Steven Cruz This is the type of deal Minnesota should have plenty of ammunition for. They need help in the bullpen, so any amount of relievers on deals that expire this season make sense. Bard is 37-years-old and his journey back to the big leagues is well documented. The 2.02 ERA and 20 saves has him looking like one of the best closers on the market. Pairing Bard at the back of the bullpen with Jhoan Duran would be a nice come-up for Minnesota. Rosario might be a lot to give up for an aging reliever, but there’s also a ton of volatility with a hitter so young and so strikeout prone. The power is absolutely there, and that would play nicely in Colorado, but it’s hard to project if he’ll ever make enough contact for it to matter. Cruz has one of the biggest fastballs in Minnesota’s system, but command has been a problem. He’s 23-years-old and at Double-A, so there’s still time for someone to make it work. What do you think? Are you in on any of these trades? Is there a prospect that is completely hands off for you?
  8. The Minnesota Twins are just a couple of weeks from the Major League Baseball Trade Deadline. Needing to get better before that point, they’ll have to look at which pieces they’re willing to swap for new talent. Focusing on the rotation and bullpen, they have more than a few options to consider. Looking at teams that could consider being sellers, I came up with 49 names as part of a Trade Deadline Manifesto. Any number of those players could be had, and there will be plenty of buyers looking to acquire their talents. Although Minnesota could use a bat, and now with the injury to Ryan Jeffers, some catching help, the focus should still be on the mound. Using Baseball Trade Values in an attempt to build some realistic packages, here’s a trio of options for Minnesota to consider. Working from a starter to a package and finally just bullpen help, you decide if the juice is worth the squeeze on any of these swaps. Minnesota Twins get: Frankie Montas Oakland Athletics get: Spencer Steer, Matt Canterino, Steven Hajjar, Marco Raya Arguably the most discussed name on the open market, Montas’ value is a complete question mark right now due to his health. If the shoulder isn’t serious, he’s going to be moved and Oakland should command a haul. He’s probably not quite the level of Luis Castillo, but that could help Minnesota’s chances to land him. Whatever you make of it, they are currently the betting favorite to do so per Bovada. Netting an ace like Montas, who is also under team control through 2023, isn’t going to come cheap. In this scenario, Minnesota would need to part with one of their Futures Game participants in Steer. Canterino is probably a reliever, but he could be an elite one at that. Hajjar is a former 2nd round pick, while Raya was a 4th round pick. Both have started their professional careers on a high note and the early returns look promising. It’s fair to suggest this may still not be enough and that makes the Twins give even greater. Minnesota Twins get: Jose Quintana, David Bednar Pittsburgh Pirates get: Matt Wallner, David Festa, Aaron Sabato This is a tricky swap given the amount of team control Bednar still has to his credit. He’s a reliever and is already 27-years-old, but he also has earned his first All-Star appearance and looks the part of among the best arms on the market. Quintana has thrived for the Pirates and has previously experienced success as a frontline starter. He’s a free agent at the end of the season, but could provide valuable innings down the stretch. With Ke’Bryan Hayes and O’Neil Cruz manning the left side of the infield, Pittsburgh may be more inclined to target Wallner from the Twins than Steer. Festa was a 13th round pick out of Seton Hall, but he’s posted a dominant 2.01 ERA across his first 80 2/3 professional innings. The hope for the Pirates on Sabato would be that a change of scenery could help him. He’s flopped hard as a big bat prospect that’s limited to anything beyond first base. This could be an area for additional value to be squeezed from this trade if they are able to make it work. Depending on the market for Bednar, this return could be entirely too light. Minnesota Twins get: Daniel Bard Colorado Rockies get: Kala’i Rosario, Steven Cruz This is the type of deal Minnesota should have plenty of ammunition for. They need help in the bullpen, so any amount of relievers on deals that expire this season make sense. Bard is 37-years-old and his journey back to the big leagues is well documented. The 2.02 ERA and 20 saves has him looking like one of the best closers on the market. Pairing Bard at the back of the bullpen with Jhoan Duran would be a nice come-up for Minnesota. Rosario might be a lot to give up for an aging reliever, but there’s also a ton of volatility with a hitter so young and so strikeout prone. The power is absolutely there, and that would play nicely in Colorado, but it’s hard to project if he’ll ever make enough contact for it to matter. Cruz has one of the biggest fastballs in Minnesota’s system, but command has been a problem. He’s 23-years-old and at Double-A, so there’s still time for someone to make it work. What do you think? Are you in on any of these trades? Is there a prospect that is completely hands off for you? View full article
  9. In an interesting development, Bovada lists the Minnesota Twins as the betting favorite to land Frankie Montas and Josh Bell if traded at the deadline. It's worth noting that these odds are built to draw action, and shouldn't be taken as gospel. Still, it's worth discussing the viability of both options. Where Frankie? The Twins have been linked to Oakland Athletics starter Frankie Montas since shortly after the lockout, with reports emerging that the sides have been in contact for quite some time. Montas, 29, is a premier target. Montas owns a 3.33 ERA and 3.35 FIP over his last 49 starts, working with an upper-90s fastball and an elite splitter. He's under team control through 2023, which is undoubtedly attractive for a Twins club expecting to compete again next summer. Montas was sporting a 2.80 ERA over his last 45 innings before his July 3rd start in Seattle, where he lasted just one inning. Montas exited with shoulder tightness and hasn't started since, with Ken Rosenthal reporting that he won't pitch in a game until after the All-Star Break. Athletics' reporter Martín Gallegos tweeted Tuesday that Montas threw a successful, 25-pitch bullpen session. His shoulder is a concern, but Montas will have an opportunity to showcase his health for a few weeks before the break. According to Bovada, Montas will likely remain in Oakland (-145). If he's moved, the Twins are the favorite at +325, followed by the Mets (+350), Cardinals (+450), Dodgers (+900), and Red Sox (+1200). Montas would instantly front the Twins' rotation if healthy, giving them a legitimate Game 1 starter. The question is straightforward: is he worth the risk? Another Bopper? Given their interest before the season, it's not shocking to see the Twins as a viable destination for Montas. It's hard to say the same for Washington Nationals' first baseman Josh Bell. If the Nats move Bell, Bovada lists the Twins as a distinct betting favorite to land him at +275. The following closest teams are the Padres and Blue Jays at a distant +600. It's jarring to see, especially considering the Twins' logjam at first base and designated hitter. Bell, 29, is hitting .300/.380/.488 with 19 doubles, two triples, and 13 home runs. He swings from both sides of the plate, hitting for average, power and striking out at a meager rate for a burly first baseman. Bell is a rental for any club, meaning he'll be a free agent after this season, but he's undoubtedly a middle-of-the-order force. For mostly any other contending team, he makes a ton of sense. For the Twins? Maybe not so much. The emergences of José Miranda and Alex Kirilloff have created logjams in the corners. Gio Urshela plays a solid third base (at least by the eye test), and the Twins have an All-Star at first in Luis Arraez. Byron Buxton continues to draw starts at DH and will likely need to do so in the second half. First baseman Miguel Sanó is trying to force himself back into the mix. After adding an everyday player in Bell, It would take some severe gymnastics to get everyone their at-bats. The Twins got wild after the lockout so it's possible they do so again at the trade deadline. What if they traded for Bell, making Miranda, Kirilloff, Urshela, and Sanó expendable in another deal for a starting pitcher or reliever? We could see some intense shifting, and nothing is out of the question for this front office. What do you think about these latest odds at Bovada? Comment below! View full article
  10. Where Frankie? The Twins have been linked to Oakland Athletics starter Frankie Montas since shortly after the lockout, with reports emerging that the sides have been in contact for quite some time. Montas, 29, is a premier target. Montas owns a 3.33 ERA and 3.35 FIP over his last 49 starts, working with an upper-90s fastball and an elite splitter. He's under team control through 2023, which is undoubtedly attractive for a Twins club expecting to compete again next summer. Montas was sporting a 2.80 ERA over his last 45 innings before his July 3rd start in Seattle, where he lasted just one inning. Montas exited with shoulder tightness and hasn't started since, with Ken Rosenthal reporting that he won't pitch in a game until after the All-Star Break. Athletics' reporter Martín Gallegos tweeted Tuesday that Montas threw a successful, 25-pitch bullpen session. His shoulder is a concern, but Montas will have an opportunity to showcase his health for a few weeks before the break. According to Bovada, Montas will likely remain in Oakland (-145). If he's moved, the Twins are the favorite at +325, followed by the Mets (+350), Cardinals (+450), Dodgers (+900), and Red Sox (+1200). Montas would instantly front the Twins' rotation if healthy, giving them a legitimate Game 1 starter. The question is straightforward: is he worth the risk? Another Bopper? Given their interest before the season, it's not shocking to see the Twins as a viable destination for Montas. It's hard to say the same for Washington Nationals' first baseman Josh Bell. If the Nats move Bell, Bovada lists the Twins as a distinct betting favorite to land him at +275. The following closest teams are the Padres and Blue Jays at a distant +600. It's jarring to see, especially considering the Twins' logjam at first base and designated hitter. Bell, 29, is hitting .300/.380/.488 with 19 doubles, two triples, and 13 home runs. He swings from both sides of the plate, hitting for average, power and striking out at a meager rate for a burly first baseman. Bell is a rental for any club, meaning he'll be a free agent after this season, but he's undoubtedly a middle-of-the-order force. For mostly any other contending team, he makes a ton of sense. For the Twins? Maybe not so much. The emergences of José Miranda and Alex Kirilloff have created logjams in the corners. Gio Urshela plays a solid third base (at least by the eye test), and the Twins have an All-Star at first in Luis Arraez. Byron Buxton continues to draw starts at DH and will likely need to do so in the second half. First baseman Miguel Sanó is trying to force himself back into the mix. After adding an everyday player in Bell, It would take some severe gymnastics to get everyone their at-bats. The Twins got wild after the lockout so it's possible they do so again at the trade deadline. What if they traded for Bell, making Miranda, Kirilloff, Urshela, and Sanó expendable in another deal for a starting pitcher or reliever? We could see some intense shifting, and nothing is out of the question for this front office. What do you think about these latest odds at Bovada? Comment below!
  11. Last week I wrote a Trade Manifesto presenting 49 names that could be a potential fit to the Twins rosters. The piece covered hitters and pitchers alike, but in this space, we’ll key in on starters. Rocco Baldelli has gotten more than could’ve been expected from Chris Archer and Dylan Bundy, but Sonny Gray and Joe Ryan can’t carry the load themselves. Minnesota has used 10 different starting pitchers this season, and that number should be expected to rise before the final game. Adding a more stabilizing talent to the group would be a substantial benefit. Even if Kenta Maeda comes back this season, he's likely to be in relief. The 5 Best Relief Pitching Trade Targets The 5 Best Hitting Trade Targets Here are the five best names from the Trade Manifesto that they could acquire: Luis Castillo - Cincinnati Reds - 29 yrs old 1.5 fWAR 3.09 ERA 3.24 FIP 9.3 K/9 The Reds missed Castillo’s presence to begin the year as he was dealing with an injury, but then again they just lost a ton of games he wasn’t part of. Castillo is back to being the dominant starter he’s always been and may be the biggest name on the starting pitching market. Castillo’s xFIP and xERA numbers are both roughly the exact same as the actual marks. His strike and walk numbers are basically what they’ve always been, which is to say very good. The Reds starter has a big 96.8 mph average fastball, but he’s heavily reliant on offspeed to set it up. His whiff and chase rates are both down, but barring there are no big red flags in terms of health, this is an elite arm in every sense of the word. It would also be interesting to see Minnesota pair Castillo with former teammate, Gray. Castillo is being paid $7.35 million this year and is in his final year of arbitration in 2023 before hitting free agency in 2024. Pablo Lopez - Miami Marlins - 26 yrs old 1.6 fWAR 2.97 ERA 3.54 FIP 8.9 K/9 Miami has two solid arms that should draw plenty of attention. Sandy Alcantara would top this list, but it seems malpractice to deal a guy you just signed to a five-year deal this offseason. Maybe the Marlins would prefer to extend Lopez this offseason, but he should draw plenty of trade interest. The xERA and xFIP numbers aren’t as glowing as the ERA, but the peripherals are intriguing. A loss of just over one mph off of his average fastball velocity from last season is concerning, but he’s also using his fastball more than ever. Lopez has a career-high whiff rate and reason to believe in future projection. He’s being paid just $2.45 million this season and isn’t a free agent until 2025. Merrill Kelly - Arizona Diamondbacks - 33 yrs old 1.7 fWAR 3.46 ERA 3.40 FIP 7.3 K/9 It may be Zac Gallen that’s the more coveted arm from Arizona, but Kelly currently shows up here. He’s not a high strikeout guy, and the 4.05 xFIP isn’t dazzling even if the 3.58 xERA doesn’t suggest substantial regression. Kelly is giving up more free passes this season, but allowing fewer homers. The 28.8% hard-hit rate is solid, and he misses solid contact with just a 92.5 mph fastball. Most of Kelly’s pitches play of variations from his fastball, but he relies pretty heavily on getting ground balls at a rate close to 50% of the time. Kelly is being paid $5.25 million this season, with another $18 million that kicks in next season and runs through 2024. He then has a $7 million team option in 2025, which would be his age-36 season. Frankie Montas - Oakland Athletics - 29 yrs old 1.9 fWAR 3.26 ERA 3.30 FIP 9.3 K/9 The Athletics are largely playing with fire in regards to Montas. He was dangled in the offseason and now they’ve run him out for 17 starts. He left his most recent outing with what’s being called precautionary for shoulder inflammation, but Montas being hurt would substantially shift the market. He’s been every bit the pitcher he was in 2021, when he finished 6th in the American League Cy Young voting. Montas has had a 96 mph fastball for years now, and his 12.9% whiff rate is above his career average. There’s not a ton of mystery here, Montas will be among the most coveted arms on the market if he’s healthy. Being paid $5.03 million this season before a final year of arbitration eligibility next year, Montas becomes a free agent in 2024. Tyler Mahle - Cincinnati Reds - 27 yrs old 2.0 fWAR 4.48 ERA 3.55 FIP 9.9 K/9 If there’s an arm that could have more to give, it may be Mahle’s. He owns a 3.22 xERA although there is the 4.05 xFIP. Mahle doesn’t allow hard contact, having last been over 30% in 2019. This season his fly ball rate and ground ball rate have flipped, but he’s still generate a strong whiff and chase rate. Mahle is a mid-velocity starter averaging 93.7 mph on his fastball. He’s just now starting to use his slider a bit more, and Minnesota may make tweaks to that arsenal with hopes of squeezing out more value. Mahle may not be at his best, but he’s still very good, paid just $5.2 million this season, and is under team control next year. Which starter would you like to see the Twins trade for and why?
  12. We are officially into trade deadline season and the Minnesota Twins are leading the American League Central Division. Knowing that this club should add in order to make a Postseason push, there’s plenty of places the roster could afford an influx of ability. Last week I wrote a Trade Manifesto presenting 49 names that could be a potential fit to the Twins rosters. The piece covered hitters and pitchers alike, but in this space, we’ll key in on starters. Rocco Baldelli has gotten more than could’ve been expected from Chris Archer and Dylan Bundy, but Sonny Gray and Joe Ryan can’t carry the load themselves. Minnesota has used 10 different starting pitchers this season, and that number should be expected to rise before the final game. Adding a more stabilizing talent to the group would be a substantial benefit. Even if Kenta Maeda comes back this season, he's likely to be in relief. The 5 Best Relief Pitching Trade Targets The 5 Best Hitting Trade Targets Here are the five best names from the Trade Manifesto that they could acquire: Luis Castillo - Cincinnati Reds - 29 yrs old 1.5 fWAR 3.09 ERA 3.24 FIP 9.3 K/9 The Reds missed Castillo’s presence to begin the year as he was dealing with an injury, but then again they just lost a ton of games he wasn’t part of. Castillo is back to being the dominant starter he’s always been and may be the biggest name on the starting pitching market. Castillo’s xFIP and xERA numbers are both roughly the exact same as the actual marks. His strike and walk numbers are basically what they’ve always been, which is to say very good. The Reds starter has a big 96.8 mph average fastball, but he’s heavily reliant on offspeed to set it up. His whiff and chase rates are both down, but barring there are no big red flags in terms of health, this is an elite arm in every sense of the word. It would also be interesting to see Minnesota pair Castillo with former teammate, Gray. Castillo is being paid $7.35 million this year and is in his final year of arbitration in 2023 before hitting free agency in 2024. Pablo Lopez - Miami Marlins - 26 yrs old 1.6 fWAR 2.97 ERA 3.54 FIP 8.9 K/9 Miami has two solid arms that should draw plenty of attention. Sandy Alcantara would top this list, but it seems malpractice to deal a guy you just signed to a five-year deal this offseason. Maybe the Marlins would prefer to extend Lopez this offseason, but he should draw plenty of trade interest. The xERA and xFIP numbers aren’t as glowing as the ERA, but the peripherals are intriguing. A loss of just over one mph off of his average fastball velocity from last season is concerning, but he’s also using his fastball more than ever. Lopez has a career-high whiff rate and reason to believe in future projection. He’s being paid just $2.45 million this season and isn’t a free agent until 2025. Merrill Kelly - Arizona Diamondbacks - 33 yrs old 1.7 fWAR 3.46 ERA 3.40 FIP 7.3 K/9 It may be Zac Gallen that’s the more coveted arm from Arizona, but Kelly currently shows up here. He’s not a high strikeout guy, and the 4.05 xFIP isn’t dazzling even if the 3.58 xERA doesn’t suggest substantial regression. Kelly is giving up more free passes this season, but allowing fewer homers. The 28.8% hard-hit rate is solid, and he misses solid contact with just a 92.5 mph fastball. Most of Kelly’s pitches play of variations from his fastball, but he relies pretty heavily on getting ground balls at a rate close to 50% of the time. Kelly is being paid $5.25 million this season, with another $18 million that kicks in next season and runs through 2024. He then has a $7 million team option in 2025, which would be his age-36 season. Frankie Montas - Oakland Athletics - 29 yrs old 1.9 fWAR 3.26 ERA 3.30 FIP 9.3 K/9 The Athletics are largely playing with fire in regards to Montas. He was dangled in the offseason and now they’ve run him out for 17 starts. He left his most recent outing with what’s being called precautionary for shoulder inflammation, but Montas being hurt would substantially shift the market. He’s been every bit the pitcher he was in 2021, when he finished 6th in the American League Cy Young voting. Montas has had a 96 mph fastball for years now, and his 12.9% whiff rate is above his career average. There’s not a ton of mystery here, Montas will be among the most coveted arms on the market if he’s healthy. Being paid $5.03 million this season before a final year of arbitration eligibility next year, Montas becomes a free agent in 2024. Tyler Mahle - Cincinnati Reds - 27 yrs old 2.0 fWAR 4.48 ERA 3.55 FIP 9.9 K/9 If there’s an arm that could have more to give, it may be Mahle’s. He owns a 3.22 xERA although there is the 4.05 xFIP. Mahle doesn’t allow hard contact, having last been over 30% in 2019. This season his fly ball rate and ground ball rate have flipped, but he’s still generate a strong whiff and chase rate. Mahle is a mid-velocity starter averaging 93.7 mph on his fastball. He’s just now starting to use his slider a bit more, and Minnesota may make tweaks to that arsenal with hopes of squeezing out more value. Mahle may not be at his best, but he’s still very good, paid just $5.2 million this season, and is under team control next year. Which starter would you like to see the Twins trade for and why? View full article
  13. The Minnesota Twins are the cream of the crop in the AL Central to this point and if they want to stay that way into the Postseason they’ll need to make some key additions. Despite Major League Baseball’s attempts to force competition through the latest CBA negotiations, there’s still plenty of teams ready for a selloff. Who can Minnesota pillage from them? When looking into what teams have assets, and what assets could be moved, the categorization was left entirely evaluated upon two factors: what players are good, and do they also play on a bad team. At this time, it’s fair to estimate there are something like ten bad teams and these are their players that fit the bill. From a Minnesota perspective, it’s largely unrealistic to consider offensive options anything more than an unnecessary luxury, so we’ll dive into the arms that make sense. Oakland Athletics - Ramon Laureano, Frankie Montas, Paul Blackburn, Lou Trivino, A.J. Puk Yes, where’s Frankie right? Ok, so you know he’s legit. Montas is among the best arms to be considered on the market and he will command an absolute haul. I don’t know that the Twins have what it takes to land him, and I’m also not sure they need him. Blackburn is under team control through 2025 and is just 28 years old. He’s not a big strikeout guy, but the ERA, xERA, and xFIP are all good. He’s finally healthy and looks like a legit rotation arm. Trivino is the prize of this pen and the peripherals suggest he’s a solid talent. The K/9 has never been better and his advanced numbers are more enticing than anything on the surface. More than Montas, 30 years oldars-old even with team control, he may be the best arm moved at the deadline. Puk is a former top prospect and someone that will come with a price tag due to control, but he’s now an aging relief arm with Minnesota ties. Health is the reason he’s in the bullpen, but if you want to add him to a group you can build around this makes sense. Detroit Tigers - Michael Fulmer, Andrew Chafin A.J. Hinch is managing a dumpster fire and that’s not how this was expected to go. Fulmer is a former top prospect and first round pick, but at this stage he’s become expendable. As an impending free agent he’s all but certain to be moved and his 2.00 ERA has him near the top of this relief class. He walks too many and the 3.06 FIP suggests a bit of regression, but he’s got closing experience and has avoided the longball. Fulmer also has the 8th lowest barrel rate in baseball. Chafin is a journeyman having pitched for four teams in nine Major League seasons, but he’s flying under the radar in 2022. He’s on a two-year deal with Detroit, but his 2.10 FIP makes the 3.26 ERA even more exciting. He’s punching out more than 11 per nine innings while being stingy on homers and walks. This is another arm that should be among the most coveted during trade season. Kansas City Royals - Andrew Benintendi, Joel Payamps, Scott Barlow If you want Payamps you’ll probably need to pay up, even with as bad as the Royals are. He’s not arbitration eligible until 2024, and is only 28-years-old. Claimed by Kansas City a season ago, Payamps has posted a 2.42 ERA this season and backed it with a 3.17 FIP. He doesn’t strike out many and gives up too many walks, but he’s kept the ball in the yard and seems like a guy who could be a former waiver candidate parlayed into value. If you’re looking to extract value from the Royals, Barlow is probably the better bet. He’s under team control until 2024, and possesses a bit better upside. The velocity has dropped a bit this season, but there’s strikeout stuff to be had with a WHIP that’s never previously been touched. He may be at his worst, but unleashing his best could make him scary for the future. Miami Marlins - Jon Berti, Joey Wendle, Garrett Cooper, Miguel Rojas, Brian Anderson, Anthony Bass, Tanner Scott, Sandy Alcantara, Pablo Lopez Maybe the Marlins won’t sell off. They aren’t good and won’t win the division, but they’re hardly a dumpster fire. That likely takes Alcantara and Lopez off the table. Both of them should be seen as future pieces rather than something that be had at the deadline. In the bullpen though, there’s some intriguing talent. Bass is producing career best numbers and carries just a $3 million team option for next year. His FIP is strong even with his xFIP being a bit more inflated. Cole Sulser would be in the same camp age wise, but being on the injured list with a lat strain should bring pause. Maybe Scott is seen along similar future lines as the starters, and he’s under team control through 2024 so he’ll have an added price tag, but the peripherals are exciting. Scott has produced massive strikeout numbers, even with a bloated amount of walks, and both the FIP and xFIP suggest he could be an asset. Washington Nationals - Josh Bell, Tanner Rainey, Kyle Finnegan, C.J. Edwards Jr. Bell always seemed like a perfect bat for the Nationals to rent. At $10 million he never cost much, and he should net them something nice at the deadline. That’s not where Minnesota is looking though with Alex Kirilloff entrenched at first base. Both Rainey and Finnegan have somewhat competing numbers for Washington. The former has a shiny ERA with lesser peripherals while the latter has a higher ERA but an xFIP that’s wonderful. Neither should be seen as off limits, and both would be a nice upgrade in the pen. Edwards Jr. has seen past success when he was with the Cubs, but he had just 27 1/3 big league innings before this year since 2019, and that was spread between five different teams. He’s not the big strikeout guy he once was, but the walk rate is a career low and he’s given up just 12 hits across 27 innings this season. Pittsburgh Pirates - Jose Quintana, David Bednar It’s basically a yearly tradition that the Pirates will be bad and need to sell at the deadline, and 2022 is no different. If you want a rotation arm you could do worse than a former staff ace. Quintana has a mid-three ERA and a FIP to back it up. He’s more of a finesse starter at this point in his career, but he can still generate strikeouts and has pitched on good teams. Another option for best relief arm to be moved may be Bednar. Pittsburgh doesn’t need to piece him out, but he doesn’t really help a team this bad either. He strikes a ton of guys out, walks very few, and is great at stranding runners. Bednar would immediately be the best pitcher not named Jhoan Duran in the Twins bullpen. Chicago Cubs - Willson Contreras, David Robertson, Chris Martin, Ian Happ, Patrick Wisdom, Rafael Ortega, Scott Efross It’s anyone’s guess as to what the Cubs were doing this offseason. They spent on Marcus Stroman but weren’t going to be good on the dirt, and they parted with some big names in the year prior. At any rate, this club has hitters to deal. Contreras will be coveted, and Happ could probably be had too. I’m not a believer in Wisdom or Ortega but there’s a level of production you could desire. It seems like Robertson is a hired gun quite often and he finds himself there again. He’s 37, but the numbers are great even if peripherals suggest a slight bit of regression. Martin is also up there at 36, and his numbers aren’t quite as good, but you can dream on the 2.51 xFIP and hope the command and strikeouts remain. Effross might be the best name here, but he could also be someone Chicago decides to hang onto. He made his big-league debut last season and looks like a great relief arm. As good as the ERA is, his peripherals suggest he may even be better. Cincinnati Reds - Tyler Mahle, Luis Castillo, Brandon Drury, Tommy Pham, Kyle Farmer, Jeff Hoffman You could start with the man that slapped Joc Pederson, but Pham has no fit with the Twins. He’ll probably be moved and that story will then likely resurface again. Instead this is where the best starters come from in Mahle and Castillo. Mahle’s ERA isn’t good, but don’t let that sway anything, he’s been very solid this year. Castillo doesn’t fit the Twins typical mold as a changeup guy, but he’s as good as it gets. Both of them will command a Montas-like haul and will have virtually the same top teams vying for their services. Hoffman is a failed starter that has actually thrived in a full-time bullpen role. He doesn’t have the shine he did as a former top prospect or 9th overall pick, but the strikeout stuff is there. He does still walk too many, but he’s dropped the home run problems that plagued him previously. Arizona Diamondbacks - Christian Walker, Zac Gallen, David Peralta, Merrill Kelly, Joe Mantiply Needing an extra outfielder or a big bat could land you looking at the Diamondbacks, but the arms are also of note. Kelly and Gallen are the starters you want, though it’s Gallen’s combination of stuff and youth that make him the most appealing. These are the types of starting arms I could see as realistic consideration for Minnesota. Mantiply may wind up being my favorite reliever moved, however. He’s 31 and just finally broke through with the Diamondbacks last season. His stuff this year has been amazing, and he’s one of three pitchers at this moment yet to allow a barrel baseball. Colorado Rockies - C.J. Cron, Chad Kuhl, Daniel Bard, Connor Joe, Charlie Blackmon, Jose Iglesias Who knows what the Rockies will do given they don’t have a plan half of the time. Blackmon would seem a good bet to be moved but they also paid for Kris Bryant while allowing Jon Gray and Trevor Story to walk. Kuhl and Bard are pitchers worth prying from them. Kuhl’s xFIP is a bit scary, but his numbers have been good otherwise and he’s a guy who has flown under the radar for quite a bit. Bard has been one of the better late-inning arms this season and bounced back nicely from an ugly 2021. He’s a fantastic story that has reinvigorated his career but will be looking to close this chapter in the next couple of years. Who are some of your favorites from this list? Anyone that got missed and you’re hoping is moved? View full article
  14. When looking into what teams have assets, and what assets could be moved, the categorization was left entirely evaluated upon two factors: what players are good, and do they also play on a bad team. At this time, it’s fair to estimate there are something like ten bad teams and these are their players that fit the bill. From a Minnesota perspective, it’s largely unrealistic to consider offensive options anything more than an unnecessary luxury, so we’ll dive into the arms that make sense. Oakland Athletics - Ramon Laureano, Frankie Montas, Paul Blackburn, Lou Trivino, A.J. Puk Yes, where’s Frankie right? Ok, so you know he’s legit. Montas is among the best arms to be considered on the market and he will command an absolute haul. I don’t know that the Twins have what it takes to land him, and I’m also not sure they need him. Blackburn is under team control through 2025 and is just 28 years old. He’s not a big strikeout guy, but the ERA, xERA, and xFIP are all good. He’s finally healthy and looks like a legit rotation arm. Trivino is the prize of this pen and the peripherals suggest he’s a solid talent. The K/9 has never been better and his advanced numbers are more enticing than anything on the surface. More than Montas, 30 years oldars-old even with team control, he may be the best arm moved at the deadline. Puk is a former top prospect and someone that will come with a price tag due to control, but he’s now an aging relief arm with Minnesota ties. Health is the reason he’s in the bullpen, but if you want to add him to a group you can build around this makes sense. Detroit Tigers - Michael Fulmer, Andrew Chafin A.J. Hinch is managing a dumpster fire and that’s not how this was expected to go. Fulmer is a former top prospect and first round pick, but at this stage he’s become expendable. As an impending free agent he’s all but certain to be moved and his 2.00 ERA has him near the top of this relief class. He walks too many and the 3.06 FIP suggests a bit of regression, but he’s got closing experience and has avoided the longball. Fulmer also has the 8th lowest barrel rate in baseball. Chafin is a journeyman having pitched for four teams in nine Major League seasons, but he’s flying under the radar in 2022. He’s on a two-year deal with Detroit, but his 2.10 FIP makes the 3.26 ERA even more exciting. He’s punching out more than 11 per nine innings while being stingy on homers and walks. This is another arm that should be among the most coveted during trade season. Kansas City Royals - Andrew Benintendi, Joel Payamps, Scott Barlow If you want Payamps you’ll probably need to pay up, even with as bad as the Royals are. He’s not arbitration eligible until 2024, and is only 28-years-old. Claimed by Kansas City a season ago, Payamps has posted a 2.42 ERA this season and backed it with a 3.17 FIP. He doesn’t strike out many and gives up too many walks, but he’s kept the ball in the yard and seems like a guy who could be a former waiver candidate parlayed into value. If you’re looking to extract value from the Royals, Barlow is probably the better bet. He’s under team control until 2024, and possesses a bit better upside. The velocity has dropped a bit this season, but there’s strikeout stuff to be had with a WHIP that’s never previously been touched. He may be at his worst, but unleashing his best could make him scary for the future. Miami Marlins - Jon Berti, Joey Wendle, Garrett Cooper, Miguel Rojas, Brian Anderson, Anthony Bass, Tanner Scott, Sandy Alcantara, Pablo Lopez Maybe the Marlins won’t sell off. They aren’t good and won’t win the division, but they’re hardly a dumpster fire. That likely takes Alcantara and Lopez off the table. Both of them should be seen as future pieces rather than something that be had at the deadline. In the bullpen though, there’s some intriguing talent. Bass is producing career best numbers and carries just a $3 million team option for next year. His FIP is strong even with his xFIP being a bit more inflated. Cole Sulser would be in the same camp age wise, but being on the injured list with a lat strain should bring pause. Maybe Scott is seen along similar future lines as the starters, and he’s under team control through 2024 so he’ll have an added price tag, but the peripherals are exciting. Scott has produced massive strikeout numbers, even with a bloated amount of walks, and both the FIP and xFIP suggest he could be an asset. Washington Nationals - Josh Bell, Tanner Rainey, Kyle Finnegan, C.J. Edwards Jr. Bell always seemed like a perfect bat for the Nationals to rent. At $10 million he never cost much, and he should net them something nice at the deadline. That’s not where Minnesota is looking though with Alex Kirilloff entrenched at first base. Both Rainey and Finnegan have somewhat competing numbers for Washington. The former has a shiny ERA with lesser peripherals while the latter has a higher ERA but an xFIP that’s wonderful. Neither should be seen as off limits, and both would be a nice upgrade in the pen. Edwards Jr. has seen past success when he was with the Cubs, but he had just 27 1/3 big league innings before this year since 2019, and that was spread between five different teams. He’s not the big strikeout guy he once was, but the walk rate is a career low and he’s given up just 12 hits across 27 innings this season. Pittsburgh Pirates - Jose Quintana, David Bednar It’s basically a yearly tradition that the Pirates will be bad and need to sell at the deadline, and 2022 is no different. If you want a rotation arm you could do worse than a former staff ace. Quintana has a mid-three ERA and a FIP to back it up. He’s more of a finesse starter at this point in his career, but he can still generate strikeouts and has pitched on good teams. Another option for best relief arm to be moved may be Bednar. Pittsburgh doesn’t need to piece him out, but he doesn’t really help a team this bad either. He strikes a ton of guys out, walks very few, and is great at stranding runners. Bednar would immediately be the best pitcher not named Jhoan Duran in the Twins bullpen. Chicago Cubs - Willson Contreras, David Robertson, Chris Martin, Ian Happ, Patrick Wisdom, Rafael Ortega, Scott Efross It’s anyone’s guess as to what the Cubs were doing this offseason. They spent on Marcus Stroman but weren’t going to be good on the dirt, and they parted with some big names in the year prior. At any rate, this club has hitters to deal. Contreras will be coveted, and Happ could probably be had too. I’m not a believer in Wisdom or Ortega but there’s a level of production you could desire. It seems like Robertson is a hired gun quite often and he finds himself there again. He’s 37, but the numbers are great even if peripherals suggest a slight bit of regression. Martin is also up there at 36, and his numbers aren’t quite as good, but you can dream on the 2.51 xFIP and hope the command and strikeouts remain. Effross might be the best name here, but he could also be someone Chicago decides to hang onto. He made his big-league debut last season and looks like a great relief arm. As good as the ERA is, his peripherals suggest he may even be better. Cincinnati Reds - Tyler Mahle, Luis Castillo, Brandon Drury, Tommy Pham, Kyle Farmer, Jeff Hoffman You could start with the man that slapped Joc Pederson, but Pham has no fit with the Twins. He’ll probably be moved and that story will then likely resurface again. Instead this is where the best starters come from in Mahle and Castillo. Mahle’s ERA isn’t good, but don’t let that sway anything, he’s been very solid this year. Castillo doesn’t fit the Twins typical mold as a changeup guy, but he’s as good as it gets. Both of them will command a Montas-like haul and will have virtually the same top teams vying for their services. Hoffman is a failed starter that has actually thrived in a full-time bullpen role. He doesn’t have the shine he did as a former top prospect or 9th overall pick, but the strikeout stuff is there. He does still walk too many, but he’s dropped the home run problems that plagued him previously. Arizona Diamondbacks - Christian Walker, Zac Gallen, David Peralta, Merrill Kelly, Joe Mantiply Needing an extra outfielder or a big bat could land you looking at the Diamondbacks, but the arms are also of note. Kelly and Gallen are the starters you want, though it’s Gallen’s combination of stuff and youth that make him the most appealing. These are the types of starting arms I could see as realistic consideration for Minnesota. Mantiply may wind up being my favorite reliever moved, however. He’s 31 and just finally broke through with the Diamondbacks last season. His stuff this year has been amazing, and he’s one of three pitchers at this moment yet to allow a barrel baseball. Colorado Rockies - C.J. Cron, Chad Kuhl, Daniel Bard, Connor Joe, Charlie Blackmon, Jose Iglesias Who knows what the Rockies will do given they don’t have a plan half of the time. Blackmon would seem a good bet to be moved but they also paid for Kris Bryant while allowing Jon Gray and Trevor Story to walk. Kuhl and Bard are pitchers worth prying from them. Kuhl’s xFIP is a bit scary, but his numbers have been good otherwise and he’s a guy who has flown under the radar for quite a bit. Bard has been one of the better late-inning arms this season and bounced back nicely from an ugly 2021. He’s a fantastic story that has reinvigorated his career but will be looking to close this chapter in the next couple of years. Who are some of your favorites from this list? Anyone that got missed and you’re hoping is moved?
  15. Much has been made about the Minnesota Twins trading for Frankie Montas, Tyler Mahle or Kyle Gibson, but there is one pitcher who is better than all of them and might be attainable. It would just take a godfather offer. The Minnesota Twins’ need for a starting pitcher is undeniable. The duo of Sonny Gray and Joe Ryan have been rock solid for the Twins in 2022, but Minnesota needs another top-line starter to help them secure a division title and throw out in a playoff game. Frankie Montas has been talked about extensively as the top trade target, but there is another starting pitcher on a losing team who would be an even better target, right handed pitcher, Zac Gallen. Zac Gallen is a 26-year-old ace starting pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks who is in his fourth season in the Majors. In his Major League career, Gallen boasts a 3.35 ERA with a 10.1 K/9 and an excellent K/BB ratio of 3.01. In his best season, 2020, Gallen posted a 2.75 ERA and finished ninth in the National League Cy Young voting. As a young starting pitcher, Zac Gallen also brings with him years of control. The Arizona right-hander is currently in the last year of his rookie contract, of $745,600 heading into his first year of arbitration. This means that a team who would acquire him at the trade deadline would get him for the remainder of the 2022 season, along with three additional years of team control at an affordable arbitration cost. So, why might the Arizona Diamondbacks be looking to trade their young, talented, and controllable starting pitcher? Currently, Arizona finds themselves in fourth place, eight games below .500, in the best division in the national league. The Diamondbacks have not made the playoffs since 2017 and do not look poised to do so this year. While Gallen looks to be an ace starting pitcher, it’s fair to wonder just when Arizona might be ready to compete, and if their best course of action would be to cash in on their right-hander now, while his value is at its all-time peak. According to a Jon Heyman article in the New York Post earlier this month, the Arizona Diamondbacks plan to keep Zac Gallen, “unless they get an offer they can’t refuse.” This time of the year it’s always hard to tell how much to believe in these reports versus how much is posturing by teams and/or agents. But taking the post from the New York Post at face value, what would it take for the Twins to offer the Diamondbacks an offer that they couldn’t refuse? In my mind, a great offer like that would involve a Major League player right now, along with future assets. Something along the lines of Trevor Larnach, Austin Martin, Josh Winder and Jordan Balazovic could start the conversation and get the Diamondbacks interested in a potential deal with the Twins. Another piece of the Zac Gallen conversation that might make Twins fans nervous, but might also lessen the cost of Zac Gallen in a trade is his potential injury concerns. Earlier this season, Gallen was placed on the injured list with a UCL strain. Of course, this might bring back some bad memories from Chris Paddack and his UCL issues prior to the Twins trading for him and ultimately losing him to Tommy John surgery. At the same time, though, the injury concerns for both the Diamondbacks as well as other suitors might just lower the cost to the point that his cost of acquisition would be lower than what you would expect from an ace with three and a half years of team control. The Twins should absolutely explore trades for the Frankie Montases and Tyler Mahles of the world, but if Zac Gallen is on the market, the Twins should put together their best offer to bring him to the Twin Cities. Would you be excited about Zac Gallen coming to the Minnesota Twins? Do his elbow issues concern you? Leave a comment below and start the conversation! View full article
  16. The Minnesota Twins’ need for a starting pitcher is undeniable. The duo of Sonny Gray and Joe Ryan have been rock solid for the Twins in 2022, but Minnesota needs another top-line starter to help them secure a division title and throw out in a playoff game. Frankie Montas has been talked about extensively as the top trade target, but there is another starting pitcher on a losing team who would be an even better target, right handed pitcher, Zac Gallen. Zac Gallen is a 26-year-old ace starting pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks who is in his fourth season in the Majors. In his Major League career, Gallen boasts a 3.35 ERA with a 10.1 K/9 and an excellent K/BB ratio of 3.01. In his best season, 2020, Gallen posted a 2.75 ERA and finished ninth in the National League Cy Young voting. As a young starting pitcher, Zac Gallen also brings with him years of control. The Arizona right-hander is currently in the last year of his rookie contract, of $745,600 heading into his first year of arbitration. This means that a team who would acquire him at the trade deadline would get him for the remainder of the 2022 season, along with three additional years of team control at an affordable arbitration cost. So, why might the Arizona Diamondbacks be looking to trade their young, talented, and controllable starting pitcher? Currently, Arizona finds themselves in fourth place, eight games below .500, in the best division in the national league. The Diamondbacks have not made the playoffs since 2017 and do not look poised to do so this year. While Gallen looks to be an ace starting pitcher, it’s fair to wonder just when Arizona might be ready to compete, and if their best course of action would be to cash in on their right-hander now, while his value is at its all-time peak. According to a Jon Heyman article in the New York Post earlier this month, the Arizona Diamondbacks plan to keep Zac Gallen, “unless they get an offer they can’t refuse.” This time of the year it’s always hard to tell how much to believe in these reports versus how much is posturing by teams and/or agents. But taking the post from the New York Post at face value, what would it take for the Twins to offer the Diamondbacks an offer that they couldn’t refuse? In my mind, a great offer like that would involve a Major League player right now, along with future assets. Something along the lines of Trevor Larnach, Austin Martin, Josh Winder and Jordan Balazovic could start the conversation and get the Diamondbacks interested in a potential deal with the Twins. Another piece of the Zac Gallen conversation that might make Twins fans nervous, but might also lessen the cost of Zac Gallen in a trade is his potential injury concerns. Earlier this season, Gallen was placed on the injured list with a UCL strain. Of course, this might bring back some bad memories from Chris Paddack and his UCL issues prior to the Twins trading for him and ultimately losing him to Tommy John surgery. At the same time, though, the injury concerns for both the Diamondbacks as well as other suitors might just lower the cost to the point that his cost of acquisition would be lower than what you would expect from an ace with three and a half years of team control. The Twins should absolutely explore trades for the Frankie Montases and Tyler Mahles of the world, but if Zac Gallen is on the market, the Twins should put together their best offer to bring him to the Twin Cities. Would you be excited about Zac Gallen coming to the Minnesota Twins? Do his elbow issues concern you? Leave a comment below and start the conversation!
  17. With several recent graduations, the Twins’ farm system is middle of the pack in the league. Sitting at 15 on Bleacher Report’s organizational, the Twins' depth has three top 100 players and more with the capability to get there. The Twins have acquired a lot of talent through the draft but also in some quality trades. Last year's Jose Berrios trade with the Blue Jays left many in the Twins community unhappy. He was an All-Star caliber pitcher for the Twins, the best one they had at the time. Berrios pitched one of his best games against the Twins last week reminding fans how much his arm is missed. At that time, many fans thought that was the most painful trade and left a sinking hole in people's hearts, but not as much as the trade with Tampa sending the fan and clubhouse favorite Nelson Cruz to the Rays. Those trades brought pitchers Joe Ryan, Drew Strotman, and Simeon Woods Richardson, as well as consensus Top 100 prospect, Austin Martin. To this point, only Joe Ryan has made a significant impact on the big-league club and bolstered them to where they are now. The Twins have an above .500 record, first place in the division, and three games ahead of the second-place Guardians. If it weren't for the trades, the team may not be stacked like it is. The only place the Twins seem to be struggling is the pitching, which is a nice change for the club, which seemed to struggle in all aspects of the game last year. This season though, it’s starting rotation has taken a huge hit. Even with the extra few roster spots and time to stretch out, we have seen several pitchers lose time due to injury. Josh Winder is out with a shoulder impingement, Sonny Gray is on the IL with a pectoral strain after making a comeback from a previous trip to the IL with a leg injury. Bailey Ober is back on the IL with the groin injury that cost him three weeks earlier this season. Joe Ryan is rehabbing after missing time on the COVID-IL. Chris Paddack had Tommy John surgery last month, and Cody Stashak needs season-ending biceps/shoulder surgery. Even if they get healthy, having another starting pitcher makes all the sense. At the end of the lockout, the Twins started by making some strong trades to bolster their roster, but at the end of all of the amazing acquisitions, the fan base was left wondering one question: "Where Frankie?” Frankie Montas, the right-handed starter from Oakland, is still there, beefing up his trade value and becoming one of the most significant assets at the trade deadline. To make this deal, the Twins would have to give the A's several players that would bolster their talent base and, hopefully, their fan base. Last week, Montas had a strong appearance, a win against the Astros, something the Twins lacked early on in the season. Montas has been doing his work to keep his trade value up. He has posted a 3.20 ERA and a 0.99 WHiP in his 64 2/3 innings entering Friday, striking out 71 batters with 15 walks. The Athletics know that he is a substantial piece of everyone's puzzle and will be looking for the best trade pieces to deal him. The A's spent the offseason cutting payroll, again. They traded Matt Chapman to the Blue Jays, Matt Olson to Atlanta, and Sean Manaea to the Padres. First-year manager Mark Kotsay has done a nice job working with the team in what is clearly a rebuilding phase. They acquired a lot of talent for those players, and will expect a ton in return for Montas. Keeping in mind that the Twins also need to acquire at least two relief pitchers without giving away the farm for Montas, the best trade pieces for the right-hander are Alex Kirilloff, José Miranda and Jovani Moran. Kirilloff and Miranda have quickly settled into the majors. Kirilloff struggled at the beginning of the season with an injury, but the outfielder has been cleaning up in St. Paul. He could be a home run hitter for the West Coast team. He has a good trade value. With all the depth in the Minnesota outfield with players like Trevor Larnach, Kyle Garlick, Gilberto Celestino, Nick Gordon, and Max Kepler, to name a few. Miranda, who looked a little shaky early in his big-league time, has grown into his swing. The corner infielder has been a surprising member of the home run club that the Twins have this season, and while it's not all the time, his batting certainly has come in clutch several times. Because the Athletics are struggling this season with pitching, giving them a player like Jovani Moran would give them another arm to fall back on. While The Twins are seemingly struggling with their bullpen, the pitchers there, given the ability to rest, can be effective for the team. Moran has a low ERA, and 13 strikeouts in his eight innings pitched. He hasn't been a massive contributor to the Twins’ bullpen and could easily be part of a package deal. Adding one more starting pitcher to the rotation, along with getting their starters healthy, would be good for the Twins. Another option might come from Cincinnati, like Sonny Gray did. Or, maybe both? Tyler Mahle has had a tough season for the Reds. He is 2-5 with a 5.07 ERA in 13 starts. The starting pitcher has not impacted the Reds' losses or wins, and they are several years from competing, so Mahle (and Luis Castillo) should be available. The Twins could easily trade for Montas and Mahle and still have a solid chance at making the postseason. Mahle has gone strong in six innings in his most recent appearances with a .193 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 18 innings. Most of the Twins pitching staff are just now working up to pitching six innings, Chris Archer just recently pitched five. While the trade with the Reds would not be as costly as the trade with the Athletics, Mahle would still carry a high enough price that Twins fans would have to understand another significant asset from the organization would be a part of a trade. Austin Martin is a great piece to make a trade. When acquired in the trade of Berríos, Martin was a top prospect and looked promising coming into the organization. Since arriving at the Twins, however, Martin’s trade value has declined some as his power has not yet developed in-game. He is not a bad player and is hitting .244 with a .366 OBP at Double-A Wichita. Like Gary Sánchez, a change of scenery may do him well. The Twins have plenty of depth at shortstop and can afford to part with Martin as part of a package deal with Noah Miller. Noah Miller, a shortstop with the Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels, was a 2021 draftee in the first round (36th overall) from Ozaukee High School in Fredonia, Wisconsin. With a similar batting average to Martin, and since the Twins have Carlos Correa and Jermaine Palacios and hopefully Royce Lewis, who suffered a season-ending ACL tear will bounce back and get healthy. There wouldn't be any logistical reasoning to keep Miller and Martin as players in the system. Making these two pitching acquisitions would allow the Twins to bring on at least one or two more bullpen acquisitions or give a player like Jharel Cotton more growth opportunities. The bullpen would be more successful with a solid, healthy starting rotation. Forcing the bullpen to pitch as much as they have will end their season sooner than fans and the team want. With the offense as solid as it is, the organization and the fans deserve pitching that is just as solid. Everyone is looking at Mahle and Montas, so the Twins and the fans need to be ready to wheel and deal. What do you think the Twins should do about pitching? Are you willing to trade your favorite player? Who are other pitchers you think the Twins should look at getting before the deadline?
  18. Thursday night, we watched as the Twins imploded late in the game against the Yankees. The depleted pitching staff struggled to keep the Yankees off the board and ultimately cost the Twins a win. The offense is on a trajectory for postseason action, but the pitching rotation and bullpen aren't even close. With the trade deadline coming in just under two months, the Twins need to capitalize on trades for available starting and back-end bullpen help. With several recent graduations, the Twins’ farm system is middle of the pack in the league. Sitting at 15 on Bleacher Report’s organizational, the Twins' depth has three top 100 players and more with the capability to get there. The Twins have acquired a lot of talent through the draft but also in some quality trades. Last year's Jose Berrios trade with the Blue Jays left many in the Twins community unhappy. He was an All-Star caliber pitcher for the Twins, the best one they had at the time. Berrios pitched one of his best games against the Twins last week reminding fans how much his arm is missed. At that time, many fans thought that was the most painful trade and left a sinking hole in people's hearts, but not as much as the trade with Tampa sending the fan and clubhouse favorite Nelson Cruz to the Rays. Those trades brought pitchers Joe Ryan, Drew Strotman, and Simeon Woods Richardson, as well as consensus Top 100 prospect, Austin Martin. To this point, only Joe Ryan has made a significant impact on the big-league club and bolstered them to where they are now. The Twins have an above .500 record, first place in the division, and three games ahead of the second-place Guardians. If it weren't for the trades, the team may not be stacked like it is. The only place the Twins seem to be struggling is the pitching, which is a nice change for the club, which seemed to struggle in all aspects of the game last year. This season though, it’s starting rotation has taken a huge hit. Even with the extra few roster spots and time to stretch out, we have seen several pitchers lose time due to injury. Josh Winder is out with a shoulder impingement, Sonny Gray is on the IL with a pectoral strain after making a comeback from a previous trip to the IL with a leg injury. Bailey Ober is back on the IL with the groin injury that cost him three weeks earlier this season. Joe Ryan is rehabbing after missing time on the COVID-IL. Chris Paddack had Tommy John surgery last month, and Cody Stashak needs season-ending biceps/shoulder surgery. Even if they get healthy, having another starting pitcher makes all the sense. At the end of the lockout, the Twins started by making some strong trades to bolster their roster, but at the end of all of the amazing acquisitions, the fan base was left wondering one question: "Where Frankie?” Frankie Montas, the right-handed starter from Oakland, is still there, beefing up his trade value and becoming one of the most significant assets at the trade deadline. To make this deal, the Twins would have to give the A's several players that would bolster their talent base and, hopefully, their fan base. Last week, Montas had a strong appearance, a win against the Astros, something the Twins lacked early on in the season. Montas has been doing his work to keep his trade value up. He has posted a 3.20 ERA and a 0.99 WHiP in his 64 2/3 innings entering Friday, striking out 71 batters with 15 walks. The Athletics know that he is a substantial piece of everyone's puzzle and will be looking for the best trade pieces to deal him. The A's spent the offseason cutting payroll, again. They traded Matt Chapman to the Blue Jays, Matt Olson to Atlanta, and Sean Manaea to the Padres. First-year manager Mark Kotsay has done a nice job working with the team in what is clearly a rebuilding phase. They acquired a lot of talent for those players, and will expect a ton in return for Montas. Keeping in mind that the Twins also need to acquire at least two relief pitchers without giving away the farm for Montas, the best trade pieces for the right-hander are Alex Kirilloff, José Miranda and Jovani Moran. Kirilloff and Miranda have quickly settled into the majors. Kirilloff struggled at the beginning of the season with an injury, but the outfielder has been cleaning up in St. Paul. He could be a home run hitter for the West Coast team. He has a good trade value. With all the depth in the Minnesota outfield with players like Trevor Larnach, Kyle Garlick, Gilberto Celestino, Nick Gordon, and Max Kepler, to name a few. Miranda, who looked a little shaky early in his big-league time, has grown into his swing. The corner infielder has been a surprising member of the home run club that the Twins have this season, and while it's not all the time, his batting certainly has come in clutch several times. Because the Athletics are struggling this season with pitching, giving them a player like Jovani Moran would give them another arm to fall back on. While The Twins are seemingly struggling with their bullpen, the pitchers there, given the ability to rest, can be effective for the team. Moran has a low ERA, and 13 strikeouts in his eight innings pitched. He hasn't been a massive contributor to the Twins’ bullpen and could easily be part of a package deal. Adding one more starting pitcher to the rotation, along with getting their starters healthy, would be good for the Twins. Another option might come from Cincinnati, like Sonny Gray did. Or, maybe both? Tyler Mahle has had a tough season for the Reds. He is 2-5 with a 5.07 ERA in 13 starts. The starting pitcher has not impacted the Reds' losses or wins, and they are several years from competing, so Mahle (and Luis Castillo) should be available. The Twins could easily trade for Montas and Mahle and still have a solid chance at making the postseason. Mahle has gone strong in six innings in his most recent appearances with a .193 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 18 innings. Most of the Twins pitching staff are just now working up to pitching six innings, Chris Archer just recently pitched five. While the trade with the Reds would not be as costly as the trade with the Athletics, Mahle would still carry a high enough price that Twins fans would have to understand another significant asset from the organization would be a part of a trade. Austin Martin is a great piece to make a trade. When acquired in the trade of Berríos, Martin was a top prospect and looked promising coming into the organization. Since arriving at the Twins, however, Martin’s trade value has declined some as his power has not yet developed in-game. He is not a bad player and is hitting .244 with a .366 OBP at Double-A Wichita. Like Gary Sánchez, a change of scenery may do him well. The Twins have plenty of depth at shortstop and can afford to part with Martin as part of a package deal with Noah Miller. Noah Miller, a shortstop with the Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels, was a 2021 draftee in the first round (36th overall) from Ozaukee High School in Fredonia, Wisconsin. With a similar batting average to Martin, and since the Twins have Carlos Correa and Jermaine Palacios and hopefully Royce Lewis, who suffered a season-ending ACL tear will bounce back and get healthy. There wouldn't be any logistical reasoning to keep Miller and Martin as players in the system. Making these two pitching acquisitions would allow the Twins to bring on at least one or two more bullpen acquisitions or give a player like Jharel Cotton more growth opportunities. The bullpen would be more successful with a solid, healthy starting rotation. Forcing the bullpen to pitch as much as they have will end their season sooner than fans and the team want. With the offense as solid as it is, the organization and the fans deserve pitching that is just as solid. Everyone is looking at Mahle and Montas, so the Twins and the fans need to be ready to wheel and deal. What do you think the Twins should do about pitching? Are you willing to trade your favorite player? Who are other pitchers you think the Twins should look at getting before the deadline? View full article
  19. Minnesota's starting pitching started the year strong, but some poor performances and injury concerns have raised questions about the rotation. Do the Twins need to look into available starting pitchers on the trade market? Earlier this week, Peter Gammons checked in on starting pitchers from multiple non-contending teams, and these teams are open for business if the right offer is on the table. Some of these players will take quite the package to acquire, so let's analyze the players available for trade. RHP Luis Castillo Free Agent: Following the 2023 Season Minnesota traded for one of Cincinnati's starting pitchers this winter, but it would take more than one prospect to acquire Castillo. He is under team control through next season, but he has a small body of work in 2022. He didn't make his season debut until May 10 after dealing with shoulder soreness during spring training. Teams interested in trading for Castillo will want a good look at his medicals before dealing away multiple top prospects to acquire him. It seems more likely for him to be dealt at the deadline if he can prove he is healthy over the next three months. RHP Tyler Mahle Free Agent: Following the 2023 Season Mahle is another Reds pitcher with a chance to be dealt, but he is a name that hasn't been frequently mentioned in trade talks. Like Castillo, he is under team control through the end of next season. In 2022, Mahle has a 6.46 ERA with a 1.57 WHIP and 32 strikeouts in 30 2/3 innings. From 2020-21, he posted a 128 ERA+ while posting a 10.7 K/9. Some of his Statcast numbers point to him turning it around as his Chase Rate and Barrel% are in the 68th percentile or higher. Teams trading for Mahle are hoping to get the version of Mahle from the previous two seasons instead of the one so far in 2022. LHP David Price Free Agent: Following the 2022 Season Gammons mentioned the Dodgers are willing to trade Price so he can start for another club. He has been limited to one start and five appearances this season because he tested positive for COVID-19. Last season, Price made 39 appearances, but only 11 were in a starting role. Can a team still utilize him as a starter, or is the 36-year-old only a bullpen option? He is also making $32 million this season, but the Red Sox are on the hook for half of that total. Maybe he has something left in the tank that can help a contending team, but he hasn't made 30 starts or more since the 2018 season. RHP Frankie Montas Free Agent: Following the 2023 Season Where's Frankie? Well, he's still waiting for a team to rescue him from Oakland's pitching staff. Gammons heard the Athletics are waiting until closer to the deadline to deal Montas because they feel like it will result in a bidding war. Last season, he finished in the top-10 for the AL Cy Young, and he is off to a strong start so far in 2022. Minnesota had conversations with multiple teams this offseason about starting pitching, so the Twins and A's have likely discussed Montas. Out of the players on this list, he is performing well, which likely means it will take a decent trade package to acquire him. Do the Twins need to trade for one of these players? Which player stands out to you? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  20. Earlier this week, Peter Gammons checked in on starting pitchers from multiple non-contending teams, and these teams are open for business if the right offer is on the table. Some of these players will take quite the package to acquire, so let's analyze the players available for trade. RHP Luis Castillo Free Agent: Following the 2023 Season Minnesota traded for one of Cincinnati's starting pitchers this winter, but it would take more than one prospect to acquire Castillo. He is under team control through next season, but he has a small body of work in 2022. He didn't make his season debut until May 10 after dealing with shoulder soreness during spring training. Teams interested in trading for Castillo will want a good look at his medicals before dealing away multiple top prospects to acquire him. It seems more likely for him to be dealt at the deadline if he can prove he is healthy over the next three months. RHP Tyler Mahle Free Agent: Following the 2023 Season Mahle is another Reds pitcher with a chance to be dealt, but he is a name that hasn't been frequently mentioned in trade talks. Like Castillo, he is under team control through the end of next season. In 2022, Mahle has a 6.46 ERA with a 1.57 WHIP and 32 strikeouts in 30 2/3 innings. From 2020-21, he posted a 128 ERA+ while posting a 10.7 K/9. Some of his Statcast numbers point to him turning it around as his Chase Rate and Barrel% are in the 68th percentile or higher. Teams trading for Mahle are hoping to get the version of Mahle from the previous two seasons instead of the one so far in 2022. LHP David Price Free Agent: Following the 2022 Season Gammons mentioned the Dodgers are willing to trade Price so he can start for another club. He has been limited to one start and five appearances this season because he tested positive for COVID-19. Last season, Price made 39 appearances, but only 11 were in a starting role. Can a team still utilize him as a starter, or is the 36-year-old only a bullpen option? He is also making $32 million this season, but the Red Sox are on the hook for half of that total. Maybe he has something left in the tank that can help a contending team, but he hasn't made 30 starts or more since the 2018 season. RHP Frankie Montas Free Agent: Following the 2023 Season Where's Frankie? Well, he's still waiting for a team to rescue him from Oakland's pitching staff. Gammons heard the Athletics are waiting until closer to the deadline to deal Montas because they feel like it will result in a bidding war. Last season, he finished in the top-10 for the AL Cy Young, and he is off to a strong start so far in 2022. Minnesota had conversations with multiple teams this offseason about starting pitching, so the Twins and A's have likely discussed Montas. Out of the players on this list, he is performing well, which likely means it will take a decent trade package to acquire him. Do the Twins need to trade for one of these players? Which player stands out to you? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  21. Around the time of our last check-in, anticipation was building for a big move to round out the rotation after the splashy addition of Carlos Correa. Such a bold showing of intention had to be followed by a similarly decisive pitching acquisition, right? It turns out, no. The Twins were evidently shut out in the trade market and so they pivoted to fill the last spot in their rotation with a fairly low-wattage signing. The bullpen received a bit more veteran depth with a couple of minor-league signings, but for the most part, it looks like this is the pitching staff Minnesota will roll with. Let's take a look at the last few players brought into this mix. Twins Make a Volatile Upside Play with Chris Archer Signing At one point, Chris Archer ranked among the best and most durable young pitchers in baseball. From 2013 through 2017 in Tampa, he almost never missed a start, piling up nearly 1,000 innings in 156 starts with a 3.60 ERA and 9.7 K/9 rate. Those days are now in the distant past. In four seasons since, the righty has thrown 287 innings with a 4.70 ERA, although the strikeout ability has remained (10.3 K/9). He didn't pitch in 2020 due to thoracic outlet surgery, and was limited to just six appearances last year in his reunion with the Rays. So, obviously a longshot. But that's why he was still available this late in the game, and why he came with such a low guaranteed price tag ($3.5M). Archer will be able to significantly increase his 2022 salary by reaching productivity thresholds, in a deal that is somewhat similar in structure to the one Rich Hill signed with Minnesota two years ago – a "pay-as-you-play" approach, as JD Cameron puts it. It's been a while since we've seen it materialize, but Archer's upside remains, and his debut in a Twins uniform on Friday offered some encouraging signs in terms of his velocity and stuff. Two More Veteran Relievers Join the Bullpen Picture A couple names you might recognize joined the Twins on minor-league deals last week: Jake Petricka and JC Ramirez. Both right-handers have thrown more than 200 innings in the majors and pitched most recently for the Angels. Neither pitcher has a significant recent track record in the majors – Ramirez hasn't appeared since 2019 and Petricka has thrown just 14 total innings since 2018. But the experience could give them a leg up on the depth chart, and Ramirez in particular is interesting because he could become a bridge-type guy capable of providing multiple innings. No More Trades for Pitching? The Twins kept on pushing for one of Oakland's two top starting pitchers known to be available. After the team signed Archer, Dan Hayes of The Athletic reported that "They also have spent the past 2 1/2 weeks attempting to pry either Frankie Montas or Sean Manaea away from Oakland without success. While the Twins have made it clear they’d like to complete a deal — and still have interest in one — the previously wheeling-and-dealing A’s haven’t recently engaged them." On Sunday, the A's finally pulled the trigger on one of these two starters – Manaea, who they were always much more motivated to deal due to his salary and expiring team control. Oakland sent the left-hander to San Diego for a fairly underwhelming return, suggesting there wasn't much of a market for him despite many teams still looking to add starters. It remains possible that the Twins could strike an 11th-hour deal for Montas or another starter. But in all likelihood, the current group is the one they're going to roll into the season with. So let's take a look at how that group shakes out. Twins 2022 Roster & Payroll Projection The team has made a bunch of cuts, narrowing down the final field of players in camp and leaving only a few decisions to be made on the bullpen and bench. Below you can find my stab at projecting the Opening Day roster. A few notes: I've got Brent Rooker filling the fourth outfield spot, if only because it's the most convenient and easy course of action. I actually have a sneaking suspicion that the Twins will choose to go with Kyle Garlick in that spot, possibly DFA-ing Rooker to make room on the 40-man roster. But we'll see. All major-league teams will have two extra roster spots for the month of April, to help offset the shortened spring ramp-up. I'm assuming the Twins will use both on pitchers and carry a 15-man staff (in fact I wouldn't be surprised if they go with 16). I've plugged in Griffin Jax and Josh Winder. I didn't account for those additional fractional salaries in the total payroll. They would increase it modestly. (At the league minimum, paying two extra players for one month equates to about $233K – a little less than Correa will earn for each game. I have the total payroll projected at $128M, which is roughly in line with last year's figure. It's worth noting that the payroll is fluid and can easily rise if Archer or Byron Buxton trigger portions of their ample incentives. Barring something unexpected, the "offseason" is complete and the Twins have assembled their forces for the 2022 campaign. We'll gain clarity on the final roster in the coming days, but it should resemble the above fairly closely. How are you feeling about the state of affairs as we await the impending start of the season?
  22. Given how things have played out, with the lockout causing a major overlap between Hot Stove season and spring training, it's only fitting that our last offseason status update comes just four days ahead of the season opener. Read on for a rundown of the front office's final (we think?) moves and a look ahead at the projected 2022 Twins roster and payroll. Around the time of our last check-in, anticipation was building for a big move to round out the rotation after the splashy addition of Carlos Correa. Such a bold showing of intention had to be followed by a similarly decisive pitching acquisition, right? It turns out, no. The Twins were evidently shut out in the trade market and so they pivoted to fill the last spot in their rotation with a fairly low-wattage signing. The bullpen received a bit more veteran depth with a couple of minor-league signings, but for the most part, it looks like this is the pitching staff Minnesota will roll with. Let's take a look at the last few players brought into this mix. Twins Make a Volatile Upside Play with Chris Archer Signing At one point, Chris Archer ranked among the best and most durable young pitchers in baseball. From 2013 through 2017 in Tampa, he almost never missed a start, piling up nearly 1,000 innings in 156 starts with a 3.60 ERA and 9.7 K/9 rate. Those days are now in the distant past. In four seasons since, the righty has thrown 287 innings with a 4.70 ERA, although the strikeout ability has remained (10.3 K/9). He didn't pitch in 2020 due to thoracic outlet surgery, and was limited to just six appearances last year in his reunion with the Rays. So, obviously a longshot. But that's why he was still available this late in the game, and why he came with such a low guaranteed price tag ($3.5M). Archer will be able to significantly increase his 2022 salary by reaching productivity thresholds, in a deal that is somewhat similar in structure to the one Rich Hill signed with Minnesota two years ago – a "pay-as-you-play" approach, as JD Cameron puts it. It's been a while since we've seen it materialize, but Archer's upside remains, and his debut in a Twins uniform on Friday offered some encouraging signs in terms of his velocity and stuff. Two More Veteran Relievers Join the Bullpen Picture A couple names you might recognize joined the Twins on minor-league deals last week: Jake Petricka and JC Ramirez. Both right-handers have thrown more than 200 innings in the majors and pitched most recently for the Angels. Neither pitcher has a significant recent track record in the majors – Ramirez hasn't appeared since 2019 and Petricka has thrown just 14 total innings since 2018. But the experience could give them a leg up on the depth chart, and Ramirez in particular is interesting because he could become a bridge-type guy capable of providing multiple innings. No More Trades for Pitching? The Twins kept on pushing for one of Oakland's two top starting pitchers known to be available. After the team signed Archer, Dan Hayes of The Athletic reported that "They also have spent the past 2 1/2 weeks attempting to pry either Frankie Montas or Sean Manaea away from Oakland without success. While the Twins have made it clear they’d like to complete a deal — and still have interest in one — the previously wheeling-and-dealing A’s haven’t recently engaged them." On Sunday, the A's finally pulled the trigger on one of these two starters – Manaea, who they were always much more motivated to deal due to his salary and expiring team control. Oakland sent the left-hander to San Diego for a fairly underwhelming return, suggesting there wasn't much of a market for him despite many teams still looking to add starters. It remains possible that the Twins could strike an 11th-hour deal for Montas or another starter. But in all likelihood, the current group is the one they're going to roll into the season with. So let's take a look at how that group shakes out. Twins 2022 Roster & Payroll Projection The team has made a bunch of cuts, narrowing down the final field of players in camp and leaving only a few decisions to be made on the bullpen and bench. Below you can find my stab at projecting the Opening Day roster. A few notes: I've got Brent Rooker filling the fourth outfield spot, if only because it's the most convenient and easy course of action. I actually have a sneaking suspicion that the Twins will choose to go with Kyle Garlick in that spot, possibly DFA-ing Rooker to make room on the 40-man roster. But we'll see. All major-league teams will have two extra roster spots for the month of April, to help offset the shortened spring ramp-up. I'm assuming the Twins will use both on pitchers and carry a 15-man staff (in fact I wouldn't be surprised if they go with 16). I've plugged in Griffin Jax and Josh Winder. I didn't account for those additional fractional salaries in the total payroll. They would increase it modestly. (At the league minimum, paying two extra players for one month equates to about $233K – a little less than Correa will earn for each game. I have the total payroll projected at $128M, which is roughly in line with last year's figure. It's worth noting that the payroll is fluid and can easily rise if Archer or Byron Buxton trigger portions of their ample incentives. Barring something unexpected, the "offseason" is complete and the Twins have assembled their forces for the 2022 campaign. We'll gain clarity on the final roster in the coming days, but it should resemble the above fairly closely. How are you feeling about the state of affairs as we await the impending start of the season? View full article
  23. It's hard to erase the mess that was the 2021 Minnesota Twins from our collective memories. It was bad. The 2022 Minnesota Twins have a chance to be great. In this piece, we lay out some pathways for the Twins to finish their roster construction ahead of a new season and the outcomes they might produce. The availability heuristic is humanities’ tendency to use information that comes to mind quickly when making decisions, inferences, or predictions. Also known as recency bias, the concept is pervasive in sports. Try, for example, convincing yourself that the Vikings could do anything except sign a defensive tackle the minute free agency opens, it’s almost impossible. Baseball is no different than other sports in this regard. Consider the Twins' win-loss record over the last decade and it's easy to see why fans take a ‘what have you done for me lately’ approach to the team. This applies in numerous ways to Minnesota. It’s easy to assume that the White Sox will run away with a poor AL Central in 2022 after the Twins collapse in 2021, and they might. Take a peek under the hood, however, and the Twins are poised to compete. Let’s dig in. Baseball Prospectus dropped its initial PECOTA standings on Tuesday. If you’re not familiar, PECOTA is Baseball Prospectus’ projection system, that is used to simulate end-of-season records for all 30 teams. As of March 15th, PECOTA has the Twins finishing second in the Central at 84-78, not so terribly far behind the 91-71 White Sox. First of all, wow. I am deep in the weeds on Twins Twitter. It’s been understandably sour this offseason. Let’s ground ourselves in the fact that this team, as currently constructed, is a .500 team. Even though a large part of this stems from the Twins getting to play a lot of games against pretty bad teams, it still feels pretty hard to accept, given the Twins have just traded their best two right-handed hitters in Josh Donaldson and Mitch Garver. Garver was a fan favorite and will be sorely missed. Donaldson was divisive and is probably undergoing mediation with Gerritt Cole in the parking lot of the Yankees spring training complex in Tampa. Jokes aside, we know the Twins still have plenty of work to do this offseason. I wrote this winter about the Twins' pursuit of a 40-WAR team in 2022, so let’s look at some possible remaining paths and what outcomes they might result in. The Twins currently sit in 16th with a cumulative fWAR of 36.3 (although this is changing by minute). Let’s examine some possible next steps for the Twins and how they might us towards that magical 40 fWAR mark. For the purposes of these pathways, I’m ignoring the bullpen for a couple of reasons; relief pitching doesn’t lend itself well to fWAR, and I ain’t got time for that. So, here goes. Pathway 1: Acquire an Elite Shortstop and an Elite Starting Pitcher Twins sign SS Trevor Story: 4.5 fWAR Twins trade for SP Frankie Montas: 3.2 fWAR This would net the Twins around 7 additional fWAR and bring them to around a 43 fWAR projection. That’s well within playoff range, but also still a distance from the White Sox mark of 47 fWAR. This is a team ready to challenge for the division and certainly compete for a wild card spot. Pathway 2: Acquire an Elite Starting Pitcher and Mediocre Shortstop Twins trade for SP Frankie Montas: 3.2 fWAR Twins trade for SS Elvis Andrus: 0.9 fWAR In this package trade, the Twins acquire Montas and Andrus together, Andrus as a salary dump for Oakland. This would bring the Twins to a 40.5 fWAR and they likely compete for a wild card spot. Pathway 3: Acquire a Mediocre Starting Pitcher and Elite Shortstop The Twins sign SP Michael Pineda: 1.8 fWAR The Twins sign SS Trevor Story: 4.5 fWAR This is where we see the value of potentially adding Story for the Twins. This path would bring the Twins to a projection of 42.6 fWAR before any additional outfield, right-handed bat, and bullpen enhancements. In short, Trevor Story is by far the highest leverage player the Twins have a realistic chance of adding. Pathway 4: Mediocre Everything The Twins sign SP Michael Pineda: 1.8 fWAR The Twins trade for SS Elvis Andrus: 0.9 fWAR I’m not suggesting the Twins would or should do this, I’m merely using it as an example as Andrus offers very little for 2022. In the ‘bare minimum’ pathway, the Twins get to 39.0 fWAR. After the tumult of trading Garver, flipping Kiner-Falefa to the Yankees, and trading away Donaldson, combined with the acquisition of Gray, this would be a brutal disappointment. Again, it’s just an example to underscore the divergence of the paths ahead for the Twins. The Twins are in a much better spot for 2022 than we are conditioned to think. How much they are willing to risk moving forwards will determine if this years’ team is likely to be average, or has a chance to be great. View full article
  24. The availability heuristic is humanities’ tendency to use information that comes to mind quickly when making decisions, inferences, or predictions. Also known as recency bias, the concept is pervasive in sports. Try, for example, convincing yourself that the Vikings could do anything except sign a defensive tackle the minute free agency opens, it’s almost impossible. Baseball is no different than other sports in this regard. Consider the Twins' win-loss record over the last decade and it's easy to see why fans take a ‘what have you done for me lately’ approach to the team. This applies in numerous ways to Minnesota. It’s easy to assume that the White Sox will run away with a poor AL Central in 2022 after the Twins collapse in 2021, and they might. Take a peek under the hood, however, and the Twins are poised to compete. Let’s dig in. Baseball Prospectus dropped its initial PECOTA standings on Tuesday. If you’re not familiar, PECOTA is Baseball Prospectus’ projection system, that is used to simulate end-of-season records for all 30 teams. As of March 15th, PECOTA has the Twins finishing second in the Central at 84-78, not so terribly far behind the 91-71 White Sox. First of all, wow. I am deep in the weeds on Twins Twitter. It’s been understandably sour this offseason. Let’s ground ourselves in the fact that this team, as currently constructed, is a .500 team. Even though a large part of this stems from the Twins getting to play a lot of games against pretty bad teams, it still feels pretty hard to accept, given the Twins have just traded their best two right-handed hitters in Josh Donaldson and Mitch Garver. Garver was a fan favorite and will be sorely missed. Donaldson was divisive and is probably undergoing mediation with Gerritt Cole in the parking lot of the Yankees spring training complex in Tampa. Jokes aside, we know the Twins still have plenty of work to do this offseason. I wrote this winter about the Twins' pursuit of a 40-WAR team in 2022, so let’s look at some possible remaining paths and what outcomes they might result in. The Twins currently sit in 16th with a cumulative fWAR of 36.3 (although this is changing by minute). Let’s examine some possible next steps for the Twins and how they might us towards that magical 40 fWAR mark. For the purposes of these pathways, I’m ignoring the bullpen for a couple of reasons; relief pitching doesn’t lend itself well to fWAR, and I ain’t got time for that. So, here goes. Pathway 1: Acquire an Elite Shortstop and an Elite Starting Pitcher Twins sign SS Trevor Story: 4.5 fWAR Twins trade for SP Frankie Montas: 3.2 fWAR This would net the Twins around 7 additional fWAR and bring them to around a 43 fWAR projection. That’s well within playoff range, but also still a distance from the White Sox mark of 47 fWAR. This is a team ready to challenge for the division and certainly compete for a wild card spot. Pathway 2: Acquire an Elite Starting Pitcher and Mediocre Shortstop Twins trade for SP Frankie Montas: 3.2 fWAR Twins trade for SS Elvis Andrus: 0.9 fWAR In this package trade, the Twins acquire Montas and Andrus together, Andrus as a salary dump for Oakland. This would bring the Twins to a 40.5 fWAR and they likely compete for a wild card spot. Pathway 3: Acquire a Mediocre Starting Pitcher and Elite Shortstop The Twins sign SP Michael Pineda: 1.8 fWAR The Twins sign SS Trevor Story: 4.5 fWAR This is where we see the value of potentially adding Story for the Twins. This path would bring the Twins to a projection of 42.6 fWAR before any additional outfield, right-handed bat, and bullpen enhancements. In short, Trevor Story is by far the highest leverage player the Twins have a realistic chance of adding. Pathway 4: Mediocre Everything The Twins sign SP Michael Pineda: 1.8 fWAR The Twins trade for SS Elvis Andrus: 0.9 fWAR I’m not suggesting the Twins would or should do this, I’m merely using it as an example as Andrus offers very little for 2022. In the ‘bare minimum’ pathway, the Twins get to 39.0 fWAR. After the tumult of trading Garver, flipping Kiner-Falefa to the Yankees, and trading away Donaldson, combined with the acquisition of Gray, this would be a brutal disappointment. Again, it’s just an example to underscore the divergence of the paths ahead for the Twins. The Twins are in a much better spot for 2022 than we are conditioned to think. How much they are willing to risk moving forwards will determine if this years’ team is likely to be average, or has a chance to be great.
  25. Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober… Dylan Bundy… Folks, that’s your Minnesota Twins rotation at the time of this writing. After trading Jose Berrios and losing Kenta Maeda to injury, the starting pitching lacks depth, high-end talent, floor, etc. Despite this fact, 14 of the top 15 starting pitchers on the free-agent market signed with teams before the lockout without a single whisper of interest from the Twins front office. This development led some to call shenanigans on the organization's statement that they plan on competing in 2022. Plenty of fans still hold out hope however that the Twins have some enormous splashes left to make that will push the Twins back into the driver’s seat of the AL Central. There are several starting pitchers on the trade market that would instantly become the leaders of the Twins rotation. Luis Castillo, Chris Bassitt, and Frankie Montas to name a few that have been thrown around in hypotheticals. One such hypothetical was just recently proposed by TwinsDaily’s own Nash Walker: The package here is steep but fair, as right-hander Frankie Montas has two years of control and finished 6th in AL Cy Young voting in 2021. In acquiring Montas, the Twins would part with Luis Arraez who is controlled through 2026 in addition to recently acquired Drew Strotman, former 1st round pick Keoni Kavaco, and Jhoan Duran whose triple-digit arm suffered an injury in 2021 but made it to AAA. Such a deal would cost the Twins in the present while leaving them open to get burned in the future, as these trades are often composed. Such a deal should raise questions, the first of which being “Does this move push the Twins over the top?”. To which I would argue “not even close”. The Twins had two front-end starters in 2021 in Berrios and Kenta Maeda for most of the season and finished in dead last place in the worst division in baseball. With a similar returning lineup (without Nelson Cruz) and a bullpen that likely won’t have any significant additions, it could be argued that the Twins are paying top dollar just to get halfway to where they were at the beginning of a disastrous 2021. Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan will certainly have a huge role in how the rotation performs, but to push the chips in while leaning so heavily on two rookies totaling well under 200 career innings would be quite the gamble. The pair would need to replicate their 2021 performances if not improve upon them to set the foundation of the Twins 2022 rotation. It’s certainly possible both are up to the task, but with such little track record and an offseason of scouting reports, it’s fair to expect some turbulence from the two rookies. It may be more realistic and fair to expect these two to perform closer to #4 starting pitchers than the rotation leaders the Twins need to make a Frankie Montas pairing worth their while. The other consideration in regards to acquiring Frankie Montas is that he’s exactly where Jose Berrios was before 2021 with two years left under contract. What would stop the Twins from similarly shipping him out at the trade deadline if the team is struggling again come July? The return would certainly be less than the price they paid in the preseason. If the Twins do in fact struggle in 2022 and hold onto Montas for the following year, he could definitely become a huge piece of the rotation in 2023 where it’s much easier to see the Twins returning to contention. That being said, they’ll have paid top dollar for two years of a premier arm and only get one meaningful season from him. In short, the Twins have a ton of question marks heading into 2022. In order to truly feel good about the rotation they probably needed at least two legitimate starting pitching additions. There are few impact options left in free agency and it’s hard to imagine them swinging two enormous trades to make up for it. What the Twins have now is a rotation problem that doesn’t come close to being solved by one big move. There are moves to be made in free agency and admittedly they could very well hit on some lower-profile additions. The lineup and bullpen could also shine bright enough to pick up some slack from the rotation. It’s hard to look at the roster and say this is the likelier scenario, however. Given the hoops we have to jump through to imagine a contender in 2022, wouldn’t it make more sense to be prudent before Opening Day and respond accordingly at the July trade deadline? It may be the anti-fun stance, but it would be a shame to see the Twins mortgage their future for a huge addition that doesn’t pay off. Especially with so many high-end prospects nearing the Major Leagues. Of all the times to acquire a huge starting pitcher the last few years, right now may be riskiest with the least amount of possible payoff. The Twins shouldn’t be looking to go all-in on an ace. — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here
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