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  1. Josh Donaldson was brought to Minnesota to help push a winning team to the next level. Instead, he has been part of multiple regrettable moments and he might be one of the all-time least likeable Twins players. Minnesota’s front office had to know what they were getting when they signed Josh Donaldson. He had a proven track record of being outspoken, but he was coming off being named the NL Comeback Player of the Year. The Twins were willing to deal with his on and off field behavior if he helped push the team to postseason success. Now two years into his massive deal and the outcome has been unfavorable to say the least. Last season, Donaldson played in less than half of the team’s games and his most memorable moment might have been being ejected after hitting a home run. This year he has been much healthier, but he has become the crusader for all batters in the battle against sticky substances. He called out the Yankees Gerrit Cole and then struck out twice against him later that week. Just this week he showboated a first inning home run against Lucas Giolito in a game the Twins ended up losing. Then he ended up confronting him in the parking lot after the game. These moments aside, Donaldson’s on field performance has come as advertised as he has been one of the game’s top offensive third basemen while also playing solid defense. So, do the distractions outweigh his other value to the team? And does that put him in the conversation for one of the all-time least likeable Twins players? There are plenty of former Twins in the conversation for least likeable player in team history. Lance Lynn has been one of baseball’s best pitchers in recent years, but his Twins tenure was filled with poor performances and a poor attitude. From the beginning, he seemed upset with the free agent process and that frustration came out in his performance. However, his stay in a Twins uniform was short so that hardly puts him at the top of the least likeable list. Other candidates for the least likeable Twins player include multiple players from the Metrodome Era. Kyle Lohse took a baseball bat to Ron Gardenhire’s office door. Needless to say, his days in Minnesota were numbered after that incident. A.J. Pierzynski was part of one of the greatest Twins trades of all-time, but his attitude didn’t fit well in multiple clubhouses during his big-league career. Both players went on to have careers outside of Minnesota, but they left on a sour note. Stretching even further back, Chuck Knoblauch had an infamous end to his Twins career. Since the team moved to Minnesota, he ranks in the top-10 for WAR, which puts him ahead of names like Johan Santana, Jim Kaat, and Torii Hunter. Eventually, he demanded a trade from the Twins and took shots at the city on his way out of town. Then there was the famous hot dog throwing incident when he returned as an outfielder for the Yankees. His off the field issues probably mean he won’t be welcomed back in Minnesota any time soon. Donaldson has rubbed some people the wrong way throughout his career. It’s hard to imagine him being in the same level as Knoblauch or Pierzynski, but there will be plenty of fans that aren’t happy with his attitude and the attention he is drawing on a last place team. How would you rank these players according to their likeability? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  2. Minnesota’s front office had to know what they were getting when they signed Josh Donaldson. He had a proven track record of being outspoken, but he was coming off being named the NL Comeback Player of the Year. The Twins were willing to deal with his on and off field behavior if he helped push the team to postseason success. Now two years into his massive deal and the outcome has been unfavorable to say the least. Last season, Donaldson played in less than half of the team’s games and his most memorable moment might have been being ejected after hitting a home run. This year he has been much healthier, but he has become the crusader for all batters in the battle against sticky substances. He called out the Yankees Gerrit Cole and then struck out twice against him later that week. Just this week he showboated a first inning home run against Lucas Giolito in a game the Twins ended up losing. Then he ended up confronting him in the parking lot after the game. These moments aside, Donaldson’s on field performance has come as advertised as he has been one of the game’s top offensive third basemen while also playing solid defense. So, do the distractions outweigh his other value to the team? And does that put him in the conversation for one of the all-time least likeable Twins players? There are plenty of former Twins in the conversation for least likeable player in team history. Lance Lynn has been one of baseball’s best pitchers in recent years, but his Twins tenure was filled with poor performances and a poor attitude. From the beginning, he seemed upset with the free agent process and that frustration came out in his performance. However, his stay in a Twins uniform was short so that hardly puts him at the top of the least likeable list. Other candidates for the least likeable Twins player include multiple players from the Metrodome Era. Kyle Lohse took a baseball bat to Ron Gardenhire’s office door. Needless to say, his days in Minnesota were numbered after that incident. A.J. Pierzynski was part of one of the greatest Twins trades of all-time, but his attitude didn’t fit well in multiple clubhouses during his big-league career. Both players went on to have careers outside of Minnesota, but they left on a sour note. Stretching even further back, Chuck Knoblauch had an infamous end to his Twins career. Since the team moved to Minnesota, he ranks in the top-10 for WAR, which puts him ahead of names like Johan Santana, Jim Kaat, and Torii Hunter. Eventually, he demanded a trade from the Twins and took shots at the city on his way out of town. Then there was the famous hot dog throwing incident when he returned as an outfielder for the Yankees. His off the field issues probably mean he won’t be welcomed back in Minnesota any time soon. Donaldson has rubbed some people the wrong way throughout his career. It’s hard to imagine him being in the same level as Knoblauch or Pierzynski, but there will be plenty of fans that aren’t happy with his attitude and the attention he is drawing on a last place team. How would you rank these players according to their likeability? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  3. Baily Ober makes his major league debut as he faces the first-place Chicago White Sox at Target Field. The Twins face Lance Lynn for the second time in six days. Yesterday, the White Sox clubbed the Twins extending their string of dominance against the Sox. The weather looks iffy from here (75 miles away) but there may be a window of dreary, but dry air to complete the game. Good luck Baily Ober. White Sox (25-15) Anderson ss Lamb lf Moncada 3b Mercedes dh Eaton rf Grandal c Vaughn 1b Garcia cf Madrigal 2b Lynn (p) 4-1 1.30 ERA Twins (13-26) Arraez 2b Donaldson 3b Polanco dh Kepler cf Sanó 1b Larnach lf Garlick rf Simmons ss Rortvedt c Ober (p) Major League Debut
  4. Lance Lynn, RHP White Sox Twins Career (2018): 5.10 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, 100 K, 62 BB, 102 1/3 Innings Lynn’s time in Minnesota was unmemorable as he signed late into spring and never really seemed like he wanted to be in a Twins uniform. MLB.com named him as the player the Twins wish they could have back. He has arguably been one of the baseball’s best pitchers before and after his time in Minnesota. For 2021, he will be in a White Sox uniform, so the Twins should see plenty of their former starter. When the team traded Lynn, they were able to get a small return, but it’s clear he would add depth to the rotation. What’s not clear is how much he’d want to be back in Minnesota after his first stint went so poorly. Liam Hendriks, RHP White Sox Twins Career (2011-13): 6.06 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 100 K, 46 BB, 156 Innings Some bad news for Twins fans is that two of the players on this list are now going to be key contributors for their top division rival. Hendriks has been arguably the best relief pitcher in baseball over the last two seasons and now he will be closing down games on Chicago’s Southside. Minnesota dropped Hendriks from the 40-man roster when he still had options left and the team hadn’t even tried him out in a relief role. He has resurrected his career and he’d be a great addition to put with Tyler Duffey and Taylor Rogers at the back of the bullpen. However, the White Sox paid him way too much money and it might end up being a contract they regret. Eduardo Escobar, INF Diamondbacks Twins Career (2012-18): .258/.308/.421, 63 HR, 138 2B, 284 RBI, 671 Games When the Twins dealt Escobar, it made sense because the team wasn’t in contention and he was heading towards free agency. Minnesota was able to get quite the haul for Escobar including one of their top pitching prospects and a very good outfielder. Escobar struggled in 2020, but his 2019 season was fantastic, and he brought a lot of positive energy to the team during his Twins tenure. His versatility makes him a potential weapon as he can be penciled in at a variety of positions and still produce. For the 2021 Twins, he had the potential to add some depth to the infield, but Minnesota might have that covered with Andrelton Simmons’ signing last week. Other Options: Aaron Hicks, Eddie Rosario, CJ Cron, Ryan Pressly Pressly has been a tremendous bullpen weapon since leaving the Twins, but the team got back some very good pieces when they traded him away. Minnesota gave up on Hicks and since joining the Yankees, he has accumulated 9.8 WAR over five seasons. Rosario will be back in the AL Central after signing with Cleveland. Will Minnesota miss Rosario’s leadership and energy? If the Twins don’t sign Cruz, CJ Cron can help fill the void at designated hitter. Which of these players do you wish was still in Minnesota? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  5. Cleveland Baseball Team: Payroll Dump The team formerly known as the Indians made a blockbuster deal on Thursday by sending shortstop Francisco Lindor and starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco to the New York Mets for a package of four players. Lindor rumors had been swirling for the throughout the offseason as he is one year away from free agency and Cleveland wanted to get something for him before he hit the open market. https://twitter.com/baseball_ref/status/1347248176261160962 Cleveland is clearly trying to dump as much payroll as possible. With players currently on their roster, Cleveland’s Opening Day payroll is scheduled to be around $35 million. Last season, the lowest payroll in baseball was Baltimore and their payroll was over $52 million. In the tweet above, there were two teams with a payroll under $35 million in 2001 with the Twins being the lowest at $24 million. Chicago White Sox: Two Team Race Chicago got their offseason started by hiring Tony La Russa to manager their team. Near the time he was hired, word came out that he had been charged with driving under the influence in Arizona. To make matters worse, it wasn’t his first time being charged with this offense. Besides the off the field issues, La Russa turned 76-years old in October, so his hiring seems questionable even for White Sox fans. To put that in perspective for Twins fans, former manager Tom Kelly is six-years younger than La Russa. The White Sox have made some moves to bolster their roster as well. Chicago dealt Avery Weems and Dane Dunning to Texas for starting pitcher Lance Lynn. Twins fans will remember Lynn’s poor season with the club, but he has been one of baseball’s best pitchers over the last two seasons. In December, the White Sox brought back a familiar face to the South Side by signing outfielder Adam Eaton to a one-year, $7 million contract which includes a club option for 2022. Chicago looks to be the Twins biggest challenger in the AL Central, especially after the moves mentioned above. Detroit Tigers: Hinch Hired for Rebuild Former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire retired as Tigers manager before the end of the 2020 season. This left the Tigers looking for a new man to run the show in Motown. AJ Hinch was suspended for the entire 2020 season after the Astros cheating scandal and now, he will be charged with turning around a Tigers club that has a winning percentage under .400 for four consecutive seasons. Last winter, the Tigers brought in two former Twins, CJ Cron and Jonathan Schoop, to bolster their line-up. This winter Detroit turned to another former Twin by signing outfielder Robbie Grossman to a two-year deal worth $10 million guaranteed. He posted a career high 1.3 WAR last year in Oakland and he did this in just 51 games. Detroit also added to their starting pitching depth by signing Jose Urena to a one-year deal worth $3.25 million. It’s still a waiting game in Detroit as their top prospects work their way to the big leagues. Kansas City: Minor Moves Like Detroit, Kanas City is in the midst of a rebuild with plenty of questions about what the future might hold for the franchise. One of their biggest offseason moves was signing Mike Minor to a two-year deal. At the same time, the club agreed to terms with outfielder Michael Taylor to a one-year, $1.75 million contract. His addition helps the team to add some outfield depth, but it certainly isn’t a difference making move. Another familiar name also signed in Kansas City just before the new year. Former Twins pitcher Ervin Santana agreed to a minor league deal to return to Kanas City, a team he called home back in 2013. If he is on the major league roster, he gets a base salary of $1.5 million with a chance to earn an extra $1.75 million in performance bonuses. Santana didn’t pitch in 2020 and he already turned 38-years old. Minnesota’s lone move has been to sign relief pitcher Hansel Robles. There are likely other moves coming, but the landscape of the AL Central continues to evolve. What are your thoughts about the AL Central so far this winter? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  6. Time can change the view of a trades, so here’ what was said back in 2018 at the time of the deal. What Did People Say at the Time of the Trade? Lynn had only made 20 starts for the Twins at the time of the deal and he was excited to be heading to a contender. "As a fan of the game growing up, it's exciting for me as a young kid seeing them in their heyday winning a lot of World Series championships," Lynn said at the time. "You look at their team now, they're going for it. I'm excited for that opportunity and that challenge. It's going to be a different experience. I'm just going to go in there and try to do everything I can to help wherever that may be." Baseball Prospectus discussed Austin’s prospect status before he finally broke into the big leagues. “the Yankees have mostly used Austin as an up-and-down fill-in when their better plans at first base or designated hitter have gone awry. He’s continued to put up big numbers for the International League in his Triple-A stints, and he’s consistently hit for power if not average when in the bigs.” At the time, Tom wrote at Twins Daily and gave the Twins an A-grade for this trade. Lynn had been lackluster during his Twins tenure and Tom was surprised Lynn had this kind of trade value. He wrote, “Honestly, if this was Lynn for Luis Rijo straight up, I would have been impressed. Rijo has an insane 8.36 K:BB ratio in 125 ⅓ innings over his minor league career. He also tops out at 93 mph, so it’s not like it’s all just smoke and mirrors.” Lynn’s New York Tenure Lynn was joining a Yankees pitching staff that already had five starters in front of him. Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, Sonny Gray and JA Happ were ahead of Lynn in the rotation. Even with that depth, nine of Lynn’s 11 appearances with New York came as a starter. He posted a 4.14 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP in 54 1/3 innings. He posted a 102 ERA+ and struck out 61 while only walking 14. It was an improvement over his time with the Twins. In the playoffs, Lynn made two relief appearances in the ALDS and things didn’t go as well. He allowed three runs in 2 1/3 innings with a 2.14 WHIP and as many walks (2) as strikeouts (2). New York fell to Boston in four games and Lynn signed a free agent deal with Texas that winter. Minnesota’s Return Austin played 37 games for the Twins over the next two seasons and hit .236/.298/.488 with nine home runs and five doubles. He struck out in nearly 32% of his plate appearances and the Twins dealt him to the San Francisco Giants for outfielder Malique Ziegler. Since joining the Twins, Ziegler played in 18 games at High-A where he posted a .442 OPS and dealt with some injuries. He turned 24-years old in September and a lost 2020 season hurt his chances to get closer to the big leagues. Luis Rijo is a little more intriguing even though the Twins have left him unprotected in each of the last two Rule 5 Drafts. His last appearances came at Low-A back 2019, so that’s likely one of the biggest reasons a team hasn’t claimed him. In that season, he posted a 2.86 ERA with 99 strikeouts over 107 innings. All those appearances were as a starter, but the bullpen might be an intriguing option moving forward, especially since his fastball already sits in the mid-90s. Who Won the Trade? Another part of the trade was the fact Minnesota had to eat $4.5 million of Lynn’s contract. This likely allowed the Twins to get any kind of value back in this trade. While Austin didn’t exactly pan out, Rijo still has potential to be a viable pitcher at the big-league level and he might have a better chance to contribute if he can make a successful transition to the bullpen. It was lucky the Twins could get anything for Lynn after the way his career started with the team. Looking back, what do you think about the trade? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. If you missed any of the previous posts in this series: -Brian Dozier Trade -Ryan Pressly Trade -Eduardo Escobar Trade MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  7. Aaron and John talk about the Twins' affiliation with the St. Paul Saints finally becoming official, the other restructuring of the minor leagues, losing two players in the Rule 5 draft, trying to make sense of the Matt Wisler departure, and the latest on Nelson Cruz's contract talks. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click this link. Listen Here Now Click here to view the article
  8. The Minnesota Twins came into 2020 having set a Major League record in home runs, had one of the best seasons in franchise history, and with an offense poised to set the world on fire. As with everything else this year, very little has gone as expected. Now on the final day to make some roster swaps, it isn’t time to push the panic button. Major League Baseball bumped the trade deadline back to August 31st this year in order to accommodate a sensible timeline amidst a 60-game sprint. Minnesota currently stands at 20-15 looking up at both the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians in the AL Central division. While division titles are nice, they couldn’t mean less this year. The top seeds will still face a club with a winning record, and they’ll do so in just a three-game series. I love the idea of adding Trevor Bauer to this club, solely because it’s my belief he’s the only pitcher capable of slotting into the top of Minnesota’s rotation. Although he’s a short-term rental and would make something like 5-8 starts, maybe the familiarity helps to re-sign him this offseason. Outside of that, any move should come with a future caveat as well. Next season the Twins will need to replace three-fifths of their Opening Day starting rotation. Trevor May is an impending free agent, and Nelson Cruz’s status remains up in the air. While the core of this club remains strong, there’s certainly pieces that will need to be shuffled around. For Minnesota to target an asset in the midst of a volatile year, and only have eyes on making it pay off immediately, would be a misstep. In any season there’s a relative amount of luck when it comes to winning a World Series. Doing so amongst a 16-team playoff field, with no fans, and potentially no home field to speak of, is a crapshoot at best. That doesn’t water down winning a ring this year, everyone is dealing with the same conditions, but it does make operating in a traditional sense irrational. Maybe a reunion with Lance Lynn works out. He’s a really good pitcher that really didn’t like his situation back in 2018. Maybe Dylan Bundy and his slider are another weapon for Wes Johnson and the Minnesota brain trust to deploy. Those are the types of moves that have future benefit too. Do you go all in on Josh Hader? That’s a great arm in play as well. No matter what the Twins do though, having more benefit than just 2020 has to be part of the outcome. There’s no doubt this club is going to make the Postseason. There’s no doubt the healthy version of their lineup is a force to be reckoned with. The greatest doubt is how it all comes together the rest of the way, and then when 2021 rolls around, what remains when the dust has settled? For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  9. Minnesota’s Weaknesses Entering the season, Minnesota was perceived to have one of the strongest line-ups in baseball. That hasn’t been the case so far as the Twins have struggled through injuries to regular starters like Mitch Garver, Byron Buxton, Josh Donaldson, and Luis Arraez. This has resulted in making nearly everyday players out of Ryan Jeffers, Jake Cave, Marwin Gonzalez and Ildemaro Vargas. It’s easy to think the Twins need replacements for these players, but the best thing for the team would be for their injured players to be healthy and producing as the team enters the playoffs. Last season, Minnesota’s biggest weakness was pitching, and this was especially true for the bullpen. This is why the team made multiple deadline deals for bullpen help. The Twins relief core has turned into one of the team’s strengths over the last year and that might mean the team isn’t looking to upgrade unless there is some player control involved. Minnesota’s starting rotation has seen multiple injuries, but the team depth in this department. Possible Trade Options Lance Lynn, Texas Lynn has been good since leaving the Twins in 2018. Last season with Texas, he posted a 3.67 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP in over 200 innings. He struck out 246 batters and only walked 59 on his way to finishing in the top-five for the Cy Young. In just over 100 innings with the Twins, Lynn had an ERA north of 5.00 and he didn’t exactly leave the team on good terms. He is under team control through 2021 and the Rangers are within a handful of games of a playoff spot, and he could be one player for the team to avoid. Trevor Rosenthal, Kansas City Minnesota might be hesitant about trading with another team in the division, but Rosenthal might be the ideal candidate. He was signed to a minor league deal in Kansas City and he has been outstanding through the season’s first half. So far, he has limited batters to two runs on seven hits in 12 appearances (11 1/3 innings). This includes a 1.06 WHIP and a 15 to 5 strike out to walk ratio. Kansas City is in a similar position to the Rangers so the team will have to decide if they want to trade pieces away. Keone Kela, Pittsburgh Unlike the team’s above, Pittsburgh is clearly not making the playoffs, but Kela is going to have to prove he is healthy over the next week. He left a game last Friday after five pitches as the Pirates revealed he had right forearm tightness. He is a free agent at season’s end, and it seems likely for him to be dealt if he is healthy. Kela has been limited this season because of a positive coronavirus test and this most recent injury. Dylan Bundy, Los Angeles Bundy might be one of the hottest names tossed around in rumors leading up to the deadline. The Angels have struggled this season and currently have one of baseball’s worst records. He is under team control through the 2021 season. So far this season, he ranks in the 80th percentile when it comes to fastball spin rate, hard-hit rate, and opponents’ exit velocity. Increased use in his slider has been part of his success and that has been something the Twins have harnessed with other current pitchers. Mychal Givens, Baltimore Givens has been dominant out of the Orioles bullpen this year and he has some intriguing traits the Twins might be interested in. Firstly, he is under team control through the end of 2021. Secondly, his slider has gotten hitters to whiff on it over 40% of the time. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and his increased usage of his slider is certainly intriguing. Minnesota might not need a ton of bullpen help but Givens could certainly provide a boost. There are three right-handed hitters that could be intriguing with some of Minnesota’s top right-handed bats on the injured list. Another possible pitching option is a man that’s boisterous on social media, but he is a free agent at season’s end and that could make him tradeable. What’s Going to Happen? Overall, it seems likely for the trade deadline to be relatively quiet when compared to recent years. Few owners and front offices are going to be willing to take on significant contracts with the uncertainty facing baseball in 2021. Baseball has dodged a few bullets this season, but no one is sure of the long-term ramifications of no fans in the stands and other lost revenue. Minnesota also has the luxury of Michael Pineda being added back to the rotation at the end of August. His addition could be construed as trading for rotation help. Jake Odorizzi, Rich Hill, and Homer Bailey have all seen time on the injured list this year and adding Pineda only strengthens the depth of a rotation that has been stretched this season. The last time the Twins saw Pineda, he was amid a tremendous stretch on the mound and he will have the month of September to get back on track. What do you think the Twins will do at the trade deadline? Add an arm? Add to the line-up? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  10. In a strange and shortened MLB season, the trade deadline is certainly going to take on a different feel. Sixteen total playoff teams means that most teams are still in the postseason hunt. This could result in a much different feel as the trade deadline approaches. What teams are going to be willing to trade? How are teams going to approach taking on salary in a year with less revenue? Let’s find out…Minnesota’s Weaknesses Entering the season, Minnesota was perceived to have one of the strongest line-ups in baseball. That hasn’t been the case so far as the Twins have struggled through injuries to regular starters like Mitch Garver, Byron Buxton, Josh Donaldson, and Luis Arraez. This has resulted in making nearly everyday players out of Ryan Jeffers, Jake Cave, Marwin Gonzalez and Ildemaro Vargas. It’s easy to think the Twins need replacements for these players, but the best thing for the team would be for their injured players to be healthy and producing as the team enters the playoffs. Last season, Minnesota’s biggest weakness was pitching, and this was especially true for the bullpen. This is why the team made multiple deadline deals for bullpen help. The Twins relief core has turned into one of the team’s strengths over the last year and that might mean the team isn’t looking to upgrade unless there is some player control involved. Minnesota’s starting rotation has seen multiple injuries, but the team depth in this department. Possible Trade Options Lance Lynn, Texas Lynn has been good since leaving the Twins in 2018. Last season with Texas, he posted a 3.67 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP in over 200 innings. He struck out 246 batters and only walked 59 on his way to finishing in the top-five for the Cy Young. In just over 100 innings with the Twins, Lynn had an ERA north of 5.00 and he didn’t exactly leave the team on good terms. He is under team control through 2021 and the Rangers are within a handful of games of a playoff spot, and he could be one player for the team to avoid. Trevor Rosenthal, Kansas City Minnesota might be hesitant about trading with another team in the division, but Rosenthal might be the ideal candidate. He was signed to a minor league deal in Kansas City and he has been outstanding through the season’s first half. So far, he has limited batters to two runs on seven hits in 12 appearances (11 1/3 innings). This includes a 1.06 WHIP and a 15 to 5 strike out to walk ratio. Kansas City is in a similar position to the Rangers so the team will have to decide if they want to trade pieces away. Keone Kela, Pittsburgh Unlike the team’s above, Pittsburgh is clearly not making the playoffs, but Kela is going to have to prove he is healthy over the next week. He left a game last Friday after five pitches as the Pirates revealed he had right forearm tightness. He is a free agent at season’s end, and it seems likely for him to be dealt if he is healthy. Kela has been limited this season because of a positive coronavirus test and this most recent injury. Dylan Bundy, Los Angeles Bundy might be one of the hottest names tossed around in rumors leading up to the deadline. The Angels have struggled this season and currently have one of baseball’s worst records. He is under team control through the 2021 season. So far this season, he ranks in the 80th percentile when it comes to fastball spin rate, hard-hit rate, and opponents’ exit velocity. Increased use in his slider has been part of his success and that has been something the Twins have harnessed with other current pitchers. Mychal Givens, Baltimore Givens has been dominant out of the Orioles bullpen this year and he has some intriguing traits the Twins might be interested in. Firstly, he is under team control through the end of 2021. Secondly, his slider has gotten hitters to whiff on it over 40% of the time. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and his increased usage of his slider is certainly intriguing. Minnesota might not need a ton of bullpen help but Givens could certainly provide a boost. There are three right-handed hitters that could be intriguing with some of Minnesota’s top right-handed bats on the injured list. Another possible pitching option is a man that’s boisterous on social media, but he is a free agent at season’s end and that could make him tradeable. What’s Going to Happen? Overall, it seems likely for the trade deadline to be relatively quiet when compared to recent years. Few owners and front offices are going to be willing to take on significant contracts with the uncertainty facing baseball in 2021. Baseball has dodged a few bullets this season, but no one is sure of the long-term ramifications of no fans in the stands and other lost revenue. Minnesota also has the luxury of Michael Pineda being added back to the rotation at the end of August. His addition could be construed as trading for rotation help. Jake Odorizzi, Rich Hill, and Homer Bailey have all seen time on the injured list this year and adding Pineda only strengthens the depth of a rotation that has been stretched this season. The last time the Twins saw Pineda, he was amid a tremendous stretch on the mound and he will have the month of September to get back on track. What do you think the Twins will do at the trade deadline? Add an arm? Add to the line-up? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  11. Here’s the deal, Rob Manfred opened the floodgates and is allowing everyone and their dance partner into the Postseason. With a shortened 60-game sprint, there’s not going to be any significant distance between the top and bottom teams (except, well, sorry Pittsburgh). That means that with over 20 games to go teams with poor records aren’t incentivized enough to blow things up. A single hot streak could get you right back in the thick of things. Then you also have the added wrinkle of what is being swapped from the contenders. In a traditional year you’d have prospects moving to new homes in favor of proven big-league veterans. This year only players in the 60-man player pool are available to be traded. Guys outside of that group can be included in deals but must be done so as players to be named later or PTBNL. There’s also the reality that while Major League Baseball is making information from alternate sites available to clubs, there’s been no MiLB season and development in 2020 has likely been lackluster at best. Finally, consider that anyone being swapped could choose to opt out on their own volition, and well, we’re dealing with an incredible amount of volatility here. Now, back to Trevor Bauer. He’s the guy. Not Johnny Cueto, not Matt Boyd, and certainly not Lance Lynn. No, if the Minnesota Twins are set on bolstering their starting rotation for the Postseason the lone avenue to do so is grabbing an ace in the form of Bauer. He’s an impending free agent and currently playing on a prorated portion of a $17.5 million deal. He looks the part of a current National League Cy Young candidate, and he’s nuked 49 batters through his first 32.2 IP in 2020. After being largely mediocre for the first six years of his career, Bauer had a coming out party in 2018. He posted a 2.21 ERA and led the league with a 2.44 FIP. The Indians hurler made his first All-Star game and finished 6th in Cy Young voting. A slight step backwards in 2019 paved the way for where we are now. Bauer owns a dazzling 1.65 ERA, league leading 13.5 K/9, and also holds MLB best marks in WHIP (0.735) and H/9 (4.1). He’s always been a high strikeout guy, but command is now better than ever and he’s honed in on his stuff. Arguably the most interesting pitcher in baseball, Bauer certainly comes with his quirks. He was someone I misunderstood for a time in Cleveland but have now very much come to appreciate. It’s clear his intention is to grow the game and engage with fans. Through his , media company, and social media outlets, you may learn more about Trevor Bauer the person than you could ever understand about Trevor Bauer the baseball player. On top of that, it’s not an accident he’s a very good pitcher. As a Driveline disciple, Bauer works with his stuff as much as anyone in the game. His fastball sits at 93 mph this year, but it’s the spin and movement he puts on it that make him unhittable. He’s a nightly feature on Pitching Ninja peek-ins, and his results light up the Statcast leaderboards. In short, this is the pinnacle of what you seek to acquire or develop on the pitching front. Now let’s throw some water on all of this. The Cincinnati Reds are 11-16, but that’s just two games back in the win column from inclusion as the final Postseason participant in the National League. On top of that, the organization went in hard this offseason signing guys like Nicholas Castellanos and Mike Moustakas. Those moves weren’t made with the idea of blowing it up just over 30 games into the season. If a deal is to be struck, it’s not going to come cheaply. While Bauer is a free agent at the end of the year, and he’s more than made it clear his intention is to go year-by-year the rest of his career, the Reds will want a healthy return right now. Minnesota has significant ammo with top prospects galore at their alternate site, but what price is too steep for a guy that may not be around a few months from now? Derek Falvey certainly has a familiar relationship with Bauer given their time together in the Indians organization. Maybe even Twins Daily can broker the deal with Bauer’s agent Rachel Luba having been featured among the Women in Baseball series. No matter what level of comfort however, the uncertainty regarding a move now, and how little value it may provide down the road, should be reason for all parties to pause. At the end of the day, Bauer is probably a pipe dream. There’s a reason Cueto is seen as the most likely prize on the starting pitching market. However, if it’s the rotation Minnesota wants to work on, there’s only one way for the organization to take a big step forward. It’s with the guy who plays with drones and mows down the opposition. Plus, the season series with the Royals is done, so we won’t have to worry about him sending anything the rest of the way. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  12. The Minnesota Twins are good. They were expected to come into 2020 and compete as one of the best teams in the sport. That has been true, and teams like that often bolster their positioning prior to the Postseason in an effort to make a run at the World Series. If Minnesota is going to go down that path, and they should, it will likely come in the form of pitching. Going into the year a starter was the presumed acquisition, and it may still be. The Texas Rangers are not good, and despite hanging in near .500 at this point, they don’t seem likely to factor in as one of two third place teams playing in October. Assuming they feel the same way, veteran starter Lance Lynn could be on the trade block. He’s 33 years old and signed through the 2021 season at a modest $9.3M next year. Besides being on a bad team, there’s a lot to like here. Lynn currently owns a 1.37 ERA through six starts, and he’s sitting down 9.6 per nine innings. He posted a 3.67 ERA across 208 innings in 2019 and topped 10 strikeouts per nine for the first time in his career. Finishing 5th in the Cy Young voting, it’s fair to say that Lynn has been everything for the Rangers that Minnesota thought they were getting when grabbing him off the free agent market in 2018. Now we’ve come full circle, Lance Lynn has already been with the Minnesota Twins. It did not go well. Lynn made just 20 starts before being sent to the New York Yankees. It seemed apparent he viewed the deal as a below-market offer that begrudgingly was accepted late into Spring Training. He’s not a small guy normally, but came into camp looking out of shape, and stamina often looked concerning when taking the ball. The results came out to the tune of a 4.77 ERA and 4.4 BB/9 that ultimately contributed to career lows across the board. It’s also clear that Lynn isn’t the same pitcher he was in that outlier of a season. His average fastball velocity is higher now than it was when Minnesota signed him, and some of the supporting numbers are better than they’ve ever been. Statcast numbers view him favorably in comparison to his competition across the league, and you absolutely can’t argue with the results. Where it breaks down for me in regards to Lynn is what you’ll need to give up, and what you may be getting back into. Maybe it’s somewhat hollow to suggest a team not acquire a guy that previously didn’t work out, but I think there’s some merit to that. It’s not as though there’s been an overhaul in the organizational structure since Lynn was last here. There has been coaching staff changes that could potentially take him to even higher heights, but the bosses that handed him a paycheck deemed subpar still remain in place. Neither side got what they wanted out of the deal, and mentally that likely plays a factor. On the basis of baseball merit, Lynn could quite possibly be the best starting asset acquirable at the deadline. His production has been top notch for the past year and a half, and Texas also has him under team control for another season. They should be asking for a nice return and dealing some combination of top prospects for that type of return seems underwhelming. Postseason starting pitching isn’t as much about depth as it is having horses. With only three guys truly necessary and a fourth being arguable, the length of the rotation is called more into question. Kenta Maeda and Rich Hill are both proven and capable of being aces of a staff. Jose Berrios still is Minnesota’s internally developed ticket there, and Michael Pineda will be back in due time. For that group to include another member, the argument should be that they’re clearly head and shoulders above the rest. Despite what the numbers may say, I don’t think that’s a case you can make for Lynn. It’s anyone’s guess how this trade deadline is going to play out. No one has seen much of what prospects are doing at their alternate sites, and there’s been no actual minor league action to evaluate talent real time. Throw in the wrench that Major League Baseball invited everyone to the end-of-year party and the incentive to sell is minimized. Maybe Minnesota goes the path of adding to their stable of relief arms, but if it’s a starter, I’d shy away from Lynn. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  13. Brief Overview: Texas remains a strange team this year as they didn’t appear to be any threat in the grand scheme of the AL, yet heading into the All-Star break they had plans for both buying and selling as they sat in striking distance of a wild card spot. They have fallen off the table since the break in winning just 12 games since while dropping 18, putting them at 60-60 headed into the series. What They Do Well: The Rangers are still very dead-set on swiping bags as they rank second in all of baseball in steals with 89. More impressive potentially is that they have 10 (technically nine since Asdrubal Cabrera has been released) players with multiple steals. The Twins have three for reference. So expect the base paths to be busy during this series, hope Jason Castro and Mitch Garver are prepared and ready for unleashing throws whenever. This also will put some more pressure on the suddenly walk-heavy Twins starting rotation as that free pass could turn into a guy on second base quicker than anyone would probably like. Their starting pitching remains good, kind of, let me explain. Usually I would keep this under “Individuals of Note” but I have some special names for that so I’ll put it here. Anyways, the Rangers have gotten 10.1 fWAR out of their starting pitching and 9.2 of that has come from just Lance Lynn and Mike Minor. Just those two would be the 12th best starting rotation in baseball by fWAR, which is really fun but also a bastardization of how fWAR works so don’t be reckless like that. For context, Lynn is 2nd among all starters in baseball in fWAR and Minor is 15th. The point here is that they have a great 1-2 punch of arms here and the Twins will see both starters in the series so expect some tough fights in those games. What They Do Not Do Well: Since the All-Star break, the Rangers bats have fallen colder than Hoth, as their 79 team wRC+ is the second-lowest in baseball over that stretch. Do you know what Ben Revere’s Twins wRC+ was? 77, he’d fit right in. One of the big issues has been their 25.8% strikeout rate which is the third highest in baseball over that stretch, meaning that the Twins have a chance to pump up their strikeout numbers during the series. The post-break woes don’t end there for the Rangers, however, as their team bullpen ERA of 5.49 is the 6th highest in baseball. This is partly thanks to a frightening 4.12 BB/9 that is the 8th worst in baseball over the stretch but should allow for some late rallies from the Twins lineup when their pen gets involved in the game. Matt Magill walked batters at a 4.02 clip during his time with the Twins so imagine an entire pen like that and try not to shudder. Individuals Of Note: Let’s talk about Emmanuel Clase. Who’s that? Well let me introduce you to a 21-year-old who can throw a 100 MPH CUTTER! https://twitter.com/PitchingNinja/status/1161461147280781312 What in tarnation is this wizardry? Let’s see some more: https://twitter.com/PitchingNinja/status/1159192195682975744 You have to feel for whatever poor Twins hitter steps up to the plate against this but boy is that something to watch. He hasn’t been in the Ranger’s bullpen for long but he most certainly has the pure stuff to stick. You know, baseball is a funny sport. There are players out there who you swear fell off the face of the earth and were more likely to be working in a shipping yard in Argentina than back up at the major league level. Yet here is the one and only Danny Santana back and thriving in 2019 with the Rangers. He’s gathered 2.0 fWAR in just over half a season’s worth of playing time and his 126 wRC+ is almost as high as his 2014 total with the Twins. Is his 4.0% BB rate and .386 BABIP sustainable? Probably not, we saw him do the exact same thing in 2014 when his BABIP was sky-high and it was just as unsustainable then as it is now, but it is still weird to see him back in the majors like this. Willie Calhoun has spent time as the designated “frequent flyer” for the Rangers as he has taken many trips from AAA to the majors and back this year as he attempts to shed the AAAA label. This year has been somewhat kind to the ex-top prospect as his 117 wRC+ is respectable and he owns enough talent to put it together and be a solid contributing member to the Rangers. Joey Gallo would most certainly be here also, but he’s currently on the IL with a fractured hamate bone and will be out until at least early September. Recent History: The Twins played the Rangers right before the All-Star break in a three-game series at Target Field. The Twins took two of three with the lone loss being an extra innings heart breaker. Recent Trajectories: The Twins are 8-7 over their last five series while the Rangers are 7-7 over their last five series. Pitching Match-ups: Thursday: Smeltzer vs Payano Friday: Odorizzi vs Minor Saturday: Berríos vs Jurado Sunday: Pérez vs Lynn (This assumes that Michael Pineda is not activated and/or there is no other rotation shenanigans.) Ending Thoughts: The Rangers, by most numbers, have been an impressively mediocre team and they have been very poor ever since the All-Star break. An easier team to beat than the Indians and most likely an easier team than the Brewers but the pressure is still on the Twins to get good starts out the rotation, play solid defense, add on runs with their offense, and have relievers come up clutch when needed. All four things have been scarcely seen from the team in awhile and improvement in any of those areas will be key for the team going forward. Now, I have to acknowledge the elephant in the room which is the fact that I am no longer perfect in my series predictions. After going 7-for-7, I choked the Cleveland series and am just 7-for-8. I’m calling for a split series but my word means nothing now that I am no longer perfect, shame.
  14. Brief Overview: The Rangers were seemingly stuck in a quasi-rebuild coming into 2019 as both the 2017 and 2018 team finished below .500 and there was a new captain at the helm in their new manager Chris Woodward. Their offseason was filled with interesting buy- low candidates and rebound targets in the hopes that those players could be pawned off at the deadline for prospects, as much of the roster was filled with players unlikely to carry the squad to anything substantial. Instead, those players performed too well and the Rangers now find themselves in wild card contention with a 46-40 record and a pythag W/L of 45-41 heading into Thursday’s game. What They Do Well: Starting pitching is the backbone of any good team aspiring to reach the playoffs and the Rangers have a solid starting rotation that ranks 10th in baseball in fWAR (thanks mainly due to Mike Minor and literally Lance Lynn whom I’ll talk about more later). Their starting pitching FIP of 4.53 is slightly worse than the mark Scott Diamond put up with the Twins (4.46), but in the modern high scoring era of MLB context, the number is much better than it looks compared to the rest of history. Yet again, the Twins will play a team that likes to steal as the Rangers have swiped the second most bases in all of baseball. It has also been a team effort instead of just falling on a single player or two, as 10 players have swiped multiple bases for the Rangers in 2019. For comparison, the Twins only have three such players. It will be interesting to see the different philosophies regarding base stealing at play during the series and both Jason Castro and Mitch Garver will have to stay on their toes through the series. What They Do Not Do Well: The Rangers are very good at striking out! I suppose if you get philosophical then you could question whether striking out a lot would categorize as something you do “well” or “not well”, but that’s an argument for a different day. The Rangers have the third highest offensive K% in MLB and their 25.8% mark almost perfectly matches how often Jim Thome struck out with the Twins (Thome was at 25.9%) and just 2 Twins hitters with more than 100 plate appearances have struck out at a higher rate so far this year (Miguel Sanó and Nelson Cruz). The Rangers bullpen is not good as they hold the fifth worst bullpen FIP in the majors at 4.93 (R.A. Dickey’s Twins FIP was 4.87 for comparison). It has been a revolving door for the Rangers pen as 20 different pitchers have gotten an out in relief for the Rangers in 2019 with one of those pitchers being named “Locke St. John”. No, I am not making that up. Along with Mr. St. John, they have also employed multiple relievers named “Jesse” and “Kyle” which would be less notable if I was talking about individuals who belonged to a fraternity in Montana, but I digress. Individuals Of Note: The poster boy for MLB in 2019, Joey Gallo, is having a brilliant season that has already seen him pass his career high in fWAR (it currently sits at 3.5). He’s still striking out at rates that would anger Willians Astudillo (35.8 K%), but he’s also walking more than ever and is being boosted by a .382 BABIP. Even if that BABIP comes down, he is still very capable of sending a ball deep into traffic over in right field and is one of the few hitters that make me visibly cringe in terror when he unleashes a swing. Hunter Pence was a part of the group of buy-low players I mentioned in the beginning and he has had a phenomenal bounce back year so far as he holds a 142 wRC+ (Harmon Killebrew’s career wRC+ is 144). Pence worked hard in the offseason to rework his swing that before had looked like an antsy crackhead digging into his pockets while looking for a cigarette but now looks more like that crackhead finally found some Adderall. The reward for Pence was the starting DH job in the All-Star game but he is unfortunately on the IL, so he will miss this series along with the All-Star Game. The Rangers also employ old friend Logan Forsythe and older friend Danny Santana and both have been above average players somehow, I really don’t know what’s happening over there but there is something in the water in Texas that brings players back to life. On the pitching side of things, Mike Minor has been another incredible story as the 31-year old finds himself second in the AL in ERA at 2.54 after missing both the 2015 and 2016 seasons and finally returning as a reliever for the Royals in 2017. The peripherals for Minor aren’t as pretty as his ERA (3.77 FIP and 4.42 xFIP suggest regression), but he has been a great starter nonetheless and it appears that the 2019 All-Star will pitch on Sunday. The other notable name is ...blegh ... do I have to write it? Fine, Lance Lynn. Yes, Lance “literally Lance Lynn” Lynn currently leads the AL in pitching fWAR. His 4.00 ERA isn’t the best but his pristine 2.94 FIP suggests that he is pitching better than it appears he is. I’m not sure what kind of necromancy the Rangers pulled to make this happen, but this is a sign that either there is no God or the one that exists has a sick sense of humor. If you would have told me during any of his outings last year where he was attempting to throw his 15th straight fastball out of the strike zone while runners were on the corners in the third and he already had thrown 60 pitches that this same man would lead the AL in pitching fWAR next year then I would have you taken in for being insane. Luckily, Lynn will not pitch in the series and Twins fans will get to avoid his terror. Recent History: The Rangers and Twins have not played this year but the Twins lost the season series last year by 2-4. I highly doubt any of those series can be used as a solid point of reference for how this upcoming series so I wouldn’t look too far into that. Recent Trajectories: Both teams are pretty cool right now as the Twins are 5-5 in their last 10 games coming into Thursday while the Rangers are 6-4 in the same time frame that includes 4 straight losses coming into Thursday. The Rangers did have a better June than the Twins did however as they had a .621 winning percentage and the Twins had a .556 winning mark. Ending Thoughts: The Rangers have built a respectable squad that will come in at a time where the Twins are a bit banged up and not playing their best ball. The Twins aren’t in a place yet where a series win is mandatory but it would be great to head into the break with a few more wins, especially as the Indians continue to play better baseball and look to threaten the division soon. I could see the series going either way but I’ll predict a series win for the Twins because I can feel in my gut that they’ll do it.
  15. After a tough road trip that saw the Twins lose their first trip of the season (of either the home or road variety), the Twins look to play a three-game home series against a pleasantly surprising Texas Rangers team before the first half officially comes to a close.Brief Overview: The Rangers were seemingly stuck in a quasi-rebuild coming into 2019 as both the 2017 and 2018 team finished below .500 and there was a new captain at the helm in their new manager Chris Woodward. Their offseason was filled with interesting buy- low candidates and rebound targets in the hopes that those players could be pawned off at the deadline for prospects, as much of the roster was filled with players unlikely to carry the squad to anything substantial. Instead, those players performed too well and the Rangers now find themselves in wild card contention with a 46-40 record and a pythag W/L of 45-41 heading into Thursday’s game. What They Do Well: Starting pitching is the backbone of any good team aspiring to reach the playoffs and the Rangers have a solid starting rotation that ranks 10th in baseball in fWAR (thanks mainly due to Mike Minor and literally Lance Lynn whom I’ll talk about more later). Their starting pitching FIP of 4.53 is slightly worse than the mark Scott Diamond put up with the Twins (4.46), but in the modern high scoring era of MLB context, the number is much better than it looks compared to the rest of history. Yet again, the Twins will play a team that likes to steal as the Rangers have swiped the second most bases in all of baseball. It has also been a team effort instead of just falling on a single player or two, as 10 players have swiped multiple bases for the Rangers in 2019. For comparison, the Twins only have three such players. It will be interesting to see the different philosophies regarding base stealing at play during the series and both Jason Castro and Mitch Garver will have to stay on their toes through the series. What They Do Not Do Well: The Rangers are very good at striking out! I suppose if you get philosophical then you could question whether striking out a lot would categorize as something you do “well” or “not well”, but that’s an argument for a different day. The Rangers have the third highest offensive K% in MLB and their 25.8% mark almost perfectly matches how often Jim Thome struck out with the Twins (Thome was at 25.9%) and just 2 Twins hitters with more than 100 plate appearances have struck out at a higher rate so far this year (Miguel Sanó and Nelson Cruz). The Rangers bullpen is not good as they hold the fifth worst bullpen FIP in the majors at 4.93 (R.A. Dickey’s Twins FIP was 4.87 for comparison). It has been a revolving door for the Rangers pen as 20 different pitchers have gotten an out in relief for the Rangers in 2019 with one of those pitchers being named “Locke St. John”. No, I am not making that up. Along with Mr. St. John, they have also employed multiple relievers named “Jesse” and “Kyle” which would be less notable if I was talking about individuals who belonged to a fraternity in Montana, but I digress. Individuals Of Note: The poster boy for MLB in 2019, Joey Gallo, is having a brilliant season that has already seen him pass his career high in fWAR (it currently sits at 3.5). He’s still striking out at rates that would anger Willians Astudillo (35.8 K%), but he’s also walking more than ever and is being boosted by a .382 BABIP. Even if that BABIP comes down, he is still very capable of sending a ball deep into traffic over in right field and is one of the few hitters that make me visibly cringe in terror when he unleashes a swing. Hunter Pence was a part of the group of buy-low players I mentioned in the beginning and he has had a phenomenal bounce back year so far as he holds a 142 wRC+ (Harmon Killebrew’s career wRC+ is 144). Pence worked hard in the offseason to rework his swing that before had looked like an antsy crackhead digging into his pockets while looking for a cigarette but now looks more like that crackhead finally found some Adderall. The reward for Pence was the starting DH job in the All-Star game but he is unfortunately on the IL, so he will miss this series along with the All-Star Game. The Rangers also employ old friend Logan Forsythe and older friend Danny Santana and both have been above average players somehow, I really don’t know what’s happening over there but there is something in the water in Texas that brings players back to life. On the pitching side of things, Mike Minor has been another incredible story as the 31-year old finds himself second in the AL in ERA at 2.54 after missing both the 2015 and 2016 seasons and finally returning as a reliever for the Royals in 2017. The peripherals for Minor aren’t as pretty as his ERA (3.77 FIP and 4.42 xFIP suggest regression), but he has been a great starter nonetheless and it appears that the 2019 All-Star will pitch on Sunday. The other notable name is ...blegh ... do I have to write it? Fine, Lance Lynn. Yes, Lance “literally Lance Lynn” Lynn currently leads the AL in pitching fWAR. His 4.00 ERA isn’t the best but his pristine 2.94 FIP suggests that he is pitching better than it appears he is. I’m not sure what kind of necromancy the Rangers pulled to make this happen, but this is a sign that either there is no God or the one that exists has a sick sense of humor. If you would have told me during any of his outings last year where he was attempting to throw his 15th straight fastball out of the strike zone while runners were on the corners in the third and he already had thrown 60 pitches that this same man would lead the AL in pitching fWAR next year then I would have you taken in for being insane. Luckily, Lynn will not pitch in the series and Twins fans will get to avoid his terror. Recent History: The Rangers and Twins have not played this year but the Twins lost the season series last year by 2-4. I highly doubt any of those series can be used as a solid point of reference for how this upcoming series so I wouldn’t look too far into that. Recent Trajectories: Both teams are pretty cool right now as the Twins are 5-5 in their last 10 games coming into Thursday while the Rangers are 6-4 in the same time frame that includes 4 straight losses coming into Thursday. The Rangers did have a better June than the Twins did however as they had a .621 winning percentage and the Twins had a .556 winning mark. Ending Thoughts: The Rangers have built a respectable squad that will come in at a time where the Twins are a bit banged up and not playing their best ball. The Twins aren’t in a place yet where a series win is mandatory but it would be great to head into the break with a few more wins, especially as the Indians continue to play better baseball and look to threaten the division soon. I could see the series going either way but I’ll predict a series win for the Twins because I can feel in my gut that they’ll do it. Click here to view the article
  16. During the first week of March 2018, Twins fans were hearing that the team was done adding to it’s already madeover roster and that the remaining free agents were not budging from their lofty asking prices. Fast forward one year and … same. Based on the rumors, it would appear highly unlikely the Twins could sign Craig Kimbrel or Dallas Keuchel. Just like how it appeared highly unlikely they would sing Lance Lynn. Huh.It’s important to keep in mind that every situation is different, but I still think there’s some value in looking back at how the Lynn contract came to be and compare that to where things are with this year’s market. I’m not saying any of this means the Twins are going to sign Kimbrel or Keuchel, but as long as they’re out there on the market it’s a possibility. One more disclaimer, sharing these reports that ultimately turned out to be untrue isn’t intended to be a jab at the reporters mentioned. They were simply relaying the information that was brought to them at that time from credible sources. Their reports were accurate to the situation in that snapshot in time. It’s clear things changed very quickly at some point, actually right around this time, last year. Here’s a look back at how things developed through the rumor mill. Feb. 28, 2018 Mike Berardino Tweets that the Twins, who are just a few weeks removed from a strong pursuit of Yu Darvish, are likely done adding. Wouldn’t say no 100 percent? So you’re telling me there’s a chance! But seriously, Dan would know. To his credit, he’s already done a lot of the leg work in trying to find a scenario in which Kimbrel could land in Minnesota. Back in late January, he wrote a thorough 1,300-word piece over at The Athletic on the topic. He’s been painting the possibility of Kimbrel signing with the Twins as a long shot, but he did end that article attached above with this sentence: “As unlikely as it seems, if all those market conditions fell their way, the Twins could just wind up with Kimbrel.” This past Monday, La Velle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune wrote that “it would take a major change of events for the Twins to sign either pitcher [Kimbrel or Keuchel] and bring him into a training camp that started three weeks ago.” And added this: “I got the sense that, unless Keuchel or Kimbrel were willing to sign a one-year contract, there's no deal here.” A one-year contract you say? Hmm … While it does not appear likely that either Kimbrel or Keuchel will be in a Twins uniform this season it also doesn’t really seem like either of those guys is likely to be in any particular team’s uniform this season. There doesn’t appear to be a front-runner or obvious destination for either of them at this point. We’ve seen this movie. Our guys came out on top with contract in hand when the dust settled. Things didn’t work out exactly as intended, which was unfortunate, but they have this move in their playbook. Is it possible there was something they learned from last year that they can apply and ensure a smoother transition into the regular season for a late signing? All I’m saying is anything’s possible. Here are a couple more links if you’re interested in some further reading. MLB Trade Rumors featured both of these pitchers Friday. Let’s Find A Landing Spot For Craig Kimbrel Historical Market Price Points For Dallas Keuchel Click here to view the article
  17. It’s important to keep in mind that every situation is different, but I still think there’s some value in looking back at how the Lynn contract came to be and compare that to where things are with this year’s market. I’m not saying any of this means the Twins are going to sign Kimbrel or Keuchel, but as long as they’re out there on the market it’s a possibility. One more disclaimer, sharing these reports that ultimately turned out to be untrue isn’t intended to be a jab at the reporters mentioned. They were simply relaying the information that was brought to them at that time from credible sources. Their reports were accurate to the situation in that snapshot in time. It’s clear things changed very quickly at some point, actually right around this time, last year. Here’s a look back at how things developed through the rumor mill. Feb. 28, 2018 Mike Berardino Tweets that the Twins, who are just a few weeks removed from a strong pursuit of Yu Darvish, are likely done adding. https://twitter.com/MikeBerardino/status/968920573169553409 March 2, 2018 Jim Bowden of The Athletic reports Lynn’s asking price is north of $50 million, a mark no team is currently willing to entertain. https://twitter.com/JimBowdenGM/status/969602577498361864 March 4, 208 Bowden’s sources tell him the Twins are unlikely to sign Lynn or any of the other top starters available. https://twitter.com/JimBowdenGM/status/970452020795772930 March 6, 2018 Berardino writes that a person with direct knowledge said a $20 million commitment was a non-starter for Lynn. March 12, 2018 Lance Lynn signs a one-year, $12 million deal with the Twins. https://twitter.com/jonmorosi/status/972587332066074624 I’m sure there were additional reports I missed, but you get the drift. As we learned with Lynn last year, things can change incredibly quickly. That lesson can obviously apply to other teams, as well. Bowden Tweeted Friday evening that the Nationals and Braves were “not in” on Kimbrel according to multiple sources. That would certainly make it appear the Twins have a better chance at swooping in at the midnight hour to sign him, but (again) things can change very quickly. If Kimbrel’s expectations are lowered, I’d imagine there’s a point at which the Nats and Braves would be very much in on him. Dan Hayes, also of The Athletic, passed this along shortly after Bowden's Tweet: https://twitter.com/DanHayesMLB/status/1104213155637530624 Wouldn’t say no 100 percent? So you’re telling me there’s a chance! But seriously, Dan would know. To his credit, he’s already done a lot of the leg work in trying to find a scenario in which Kimbrel could land in Minnesota. Back in late January, he wrote a thorough 1,300-word piece over at The Athletic on the topic. He’s been painting the possibility of Kimbrel signing with the Twins as a long shot, but he did end that article attached above with this sentence: “As unlikely as it seems, if all those market conditions fell their way, the Twins could just wind up with Kimbrel.” This past Monday, La Velle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune wrote that “it would take a major change of events for the Twins to sign either pitcher [Kimbrel or Keuchel] and bring him into a training camp that started three weeks ago.” And added this: “I got the sense that, unless Keuchel or Kimbrel were willing to sign a one-year contract, there's no deal here.” A one-year contract you say? Hmm … While it does not appear likely that either Kimbrel or Keuchel will be in a Twins uniform this season it also doesn’t really seem like either of those guys is likely to be in any particular team’s uniform this season. There doesn’t appear to be a front-runner or obvious destination for either of them at this point. We’ve seen this movie. Our guys came out on top with contract in hand when the dust settled. Things didn’t work out exactly as intended, which was unfortunate, but they have this move in their playbook. Is it possible there was something they learned from last year that they can apply and ensure a smoother transition into the regular season for a late signing? All I’m saying is anything’s possible. Here are a couple more links if you’re interested in some further reading. MLB Trade Rumors featured both of these pitchers Friday. Let’s Find A Landing Spot For Craig Kimbrel Historical Market Price Points For Dallas Keuchel
  18. We’re nearing the middle of January and there are still plenty of high-caliber free agents on the open market. The Minnesota Twins have committed over $30 million to a foursome of players that should all be expected to help this club. There’s still another $30 million the front office could choose to allocate (more on that here), but the question is whether they’ll fall into advantageous situations like 2018.Both Lance Lynn and Logan Morrison were coming off strong showings during the 2017 season. Any indications that they’d need to settle for bargain basement deals in the final hours of the free agency cycle were not apparent throughout the winter. The Twins were able to take advantage of both players and the market last season, but the deals went poorly for all involved. There’s an opportunity for things to be different this time around, and it’ll be worth monitoring to see what the reaction is. After Lynn and Morrison flopped, story lines down the stretch emerged that the Twins would shy away from one-year deals or rogue agent type players. After being non-tendered, Minnesota’s first two acquisitions, Jonathan Schoop and C.J. Cron, were both brought in on one-year pacts. All things are not always created equal however, and this is an instance of that. Cron had a career year in 2018 but was sent packing by the Rays. Grabbed by a system owning familiarity with his background, it had to feel like a nice spot for C.J. And Schoop is on a one-year bounce back opportunity after being an All Star in 2017. More with something to prove rather than a level of scorn, guys like Schoop, Cron, and even Parker could funnel that energy into a Twins club that has improved over the course of this offseason. Given the decline in talent that the Indians have seen, any level of motivating factors outside the field of play may serve to close the gap. There’s still just over a month until pitchers and catchers arrive at sunny Fort Myers for spring training. Obviously, the biggest names should have new homes by then, so things will have to start moving sooner or later. Bryce Harper and Manny Machado aren’t taking one-year deals because teams may be waiting them out, but Minnesota could end up striking late again on someone like Dallas Keuchel or Cody Allen. Should the Twins emerge as a landing spot for a bigger name, I’d imagine it would come in the form of a price drop but still a longer-term pact. Allen or another reliever could be acquired on a one-year deal that wouldn’t come with baggage if the money ends up being right. For the former Cleveland closer, there’s probably a good deal of relationship equity in place with this Twins organization. When the dust settles, I’d certainly hope that Minnesota has another move in them. If they learned anything from last year however, grabbing the guys who feel the process did them a disservice isn’t a good bet. The clearance rack is a fun place at Target, but we’ve seen how human commodities work out at Target Field. Jumping in on a market for guys who shouldn’t still be angling for a role, and compensating them at a level that suggests you believe they’ll advance their own and your cause, may be the bow this team needs to place on jumping the gun into relevancy. Click here to view the article
  19. Both Lance Lynn and Logan Morrison were coming off strong showings during the 2017 season. Any indications that they’d need to settle for bargain basement deals in the final hours of the free agency cycle were not apparent throughout the winter. The Twins were able to take advantage of both players and the market last season, but the deals went poorly for all involved. There’s an opportunity for things to be different this time around, and it’ll be worth monitoring to see what the reaction is. After Lynn and Morrison flopped, story lines down the stretch emerged that the Twins would shy away from one-year deals or rogue agent type players. After being non-tendered, Minnesota’s first two acquisitions, Jonathan Schoop and C.J. Cron, were both brought in on one-year pacts. All things are not always created equal however, and this is an instance of that. Cron had a career year in 2018 but was sent packing by the Rays. Grabbed by a system owning familiarity with his background, it had to feel like a nice spot for C.J. And Schoop is on a one-year bounce back opportunity after being an All Star in 2017. More with something to prove rather than a level of scorn, guys like Schoop, Cron, and even Parker could funnel that energy into a Twins club that has improved over the course of this offseason. Given the decline in talent that the Indians have seen, any level of motivating factors outside the field of play may serve to close the gap. There’s still just over a month until pitchers and catchers arrive at sunny Fort Myers for spring training. Obviously, the biggest names should have new homes by then, so things will have to start moving sooner or later. Bryce Harper and Manny Machado aren’t taking one-year deals because teams may be waiting them out, but Minnesota could end up striking late again on someone like Dallas Keuchel or Cody Allen. Should the Twins emerge as a landing spot for a bigger name, I’d imagine it would come in the form of a price drop but still a longer-term pact. Allen or another reliever could be acquired on a one-year deal that wouldn’t come with baggage if the money ends up being right. For the former Cleveland closer, there’s probably a good deal of relationship equity in place with this Twins organization. When the dust settles, I’d certainly hope that Minnesota has another move in them. If they learned anything from last year however, grabbing the guys who feel the process did them a disservice isn’t a good bet. The clearance rack is a fun place at Target, but we’ve seen how human commodities work out at Target Field. Jumping in on a market for guys who shouldn’t still be angling for a role, and compensating them at a level that suggests you believe they’ll advance their own and your cause, may be the bow this team needs to place on jumping the gun into relevancy.
  20. Nick Nelson Short-term planning is hard sometimes. No one could have predicted last offseason that returning core players like Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano and Ervin Santana — as well as new additions like Lance Lynn, Logan Morrison and Addison Reed — would collectively contribute so little in 2018 after the years they had in 2017. This turn of events completely sabotaged any chance of contention this season, and there's little the front office could have done about it without the benefit of hindsight. I still like the moves they made, especially because they were geared toward big-picture success. The Twins can move on from Lynn and Morrison after this season and managed to reload the pipeline with savvy trades in late July. They've set themselves up for tremendous spending flexibility this winter. Falvey and Levine have shown a penchant for opportunistically acquiring useful talents — such as Tyler Austin, Jake Cave and Gabriel Moya — at low costs. And, crucially, they've also overseen two drafts that look like absolute slam dunks so far, shoring up a sore spot from the latter years of Terry Ryan's tenure. The 2018 season has been a bummer but I feel extremely optimistic about the organization's leadership going forward. Seth Stohs Always a tough question because what's more important, process or results? Obviously results matter, but that's too easy. We all loved the offseason, for the most part, and adding the likes of Lance Lynn and Logan Morrison to one-year deals in spring training was immensely exciting. It didn't pan out. At all. But I think they've continued to add personnel and systems behind the scenes that should have Twins fans excited. In season, I think they've been fine. They've been willing to work and make changes to the 24th and 25th men on the active roster, and they've been willing to grab guys on the back end of the 40-man roster. I may not agree with every single decision, but I do trust the process. I do like what they did at the trade deadline and as they like to say, the way they've developed "waves" of prospects to hopefully put the Twins in a position to compete for playoff spots for the next decade or two! Grade: I don't know. B? Cody Christie Last week’s roundtable revolved around trying to give a grade to Paul Molitor. Managers get too much of the credit when a team wins or loses. For the front office, it takes a long-term approach to revamp an entire organization. The Twins were amid some bad seasons, but the farm system had some good pieces. There are lots of things to consider when looking at the front office as a whole. In their first season leading the organization, Falvey and Levine kept a lot of the previous front office pieces in place to reevaluate everyone. They started overhauling some of the pieces last off-season so it’s hard to know how well those pieces have worked out. Even though the wins haven’t piled up, I’d give the front office an A for last off-season. It helps to have the number one overall pick, but the minor league system has moved from middle of the road to a top-10 system in all of baseball. I’d give them a solid B+ for their drafting so far with the potential of it moving higher based on results in the years ahead. I feel their approach with Sano and Buxton this season was also appropriate. There are few teams that would send a former All-Star all the way down to High-A to “find themselves.” All things considered, I’d give them an A- at this point. Tom Froemming This is a tough question to answer, given that Derek Falvey has only been around since October of 2016. There are a lot of areas where I would give an incomplete grade at this point, but overall, I'd give them a C. Nothing jumps out to me that suggests they're either clearly above or clearly below average. What's really going to make or break this front office in the end is how they draft. So far, they appear to me to be very good at draft strategy, though having the No. 1 overall pick their first year certainly didn't hurt. I liked how decisive they were at this year's deadline, but there have been a number of odd scrap-heap additions while guys performing down on the farm have struggled to find opportunities. The more Falvey and Thad Levine put their fingerprints on the org, the more we'll know. I think the next 12 months could be particularly telling Ted Schwerzler I've considered this as a significantly loaded question at multiple points during this 2018 season. The offseason was one in which the front office hit it out of the park. They aimed high (Darvish), and they shot often (multiple FAs). When the dust settled, they brought in a crop of players that signified a large talent leap and did so by boasting an all-time high payroll. From there, things went downhill. A good number of those new players flopped (which isn't the fault of the front office), and the answers sought seemed less than satisfactory. I haven't found myself a fan of many roster moves made during the season and think more games could've been won with better promotions from the farm. As a whole, it's been a strong step forward from the late years of the Terry Ryan regime, but this duo isn't yet to the point of breaking through. Jamie Cameron It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day minutia of what the front office does and doesn't do, particularly with roster management. While some of the roster decisions have been odd (if not extremely poor), there are so many facets of the organization the front office has excelled at. Early indicators suggest the front office has drafted well in both drafts. Additionally, the Twins offseason was both strong and opportunistic (despite not translating on to the field). Finally, the team worked hard to acquire some exciting pieces at the deadline and took advantage of impending free agents. One other key lever when examining the front office. We tend to give equal weight to all aspects of the work of the front office in evaluating them. In reality, the number -one pick decision is vastly higher leverage than in-season roster management in a season where they were unlikely to reach the playoffs anyway. While the front office has some areas for refinement, their biggest decisions have been huge wins for the organization. Steve Lein Two years into evaluating any long-term “plan” Falvine and company may have is still a bit quick on the trigger, but I am on board with a lot of the things they have done to this point in the short-term sense. I liked that they struck on a colder free agent market to bring in guys like Addison Reed, Zach Duke, Lance Lynn, and Logan Morrison on short deals. On paper they improved some areas that needed it after a playoff appearance, which is what we all asked for. I’ll concede this didn’t work out, but when it didn’t they unloaded those and other short-term assets for future returns. I also approve of how they seem to be running the minor league system. For once, I don’t have the impression prospects are being held back as a whole. Top prospects Royce Lewis, Alex Kirilloff, and Brusdar Graterol were all promoted after a half-season in Cedar Rapids, where such prospects often would spend an entire season no matter how they performed under old leadership. Fernando Romero made his MLB debut after just four starts in Triple-A, as examples. What I haven’t liked is their usage of the 40-man roster, both heading into the season with whom they protected/lost, and who has been bypassed with moves on the waiver wire. Small potatoes here, but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows with them yet. To assign a letter grade, I’ll say B-minus, trending up. SD Buhr The best “grade” I can give this front office is “Incomplete.” It hasn’t had time to fail, but the results on the field haven’t been anything to get TOO excited about, either. I’m sure some will give them a partial pass simply because they were not allowed to hire their “own man” as manager, instead being required by ownership to retain Paul Molitor. I think that’s a cop out. “Falvine” has only had one full offseason and I think most of us felt they did a decent job assembling a roster over the offseason. I’m also certain that a lot of people are impressed with the way this FO has modernized its approach to everything from scouting to assembling and utilizing advanced data. I just think running a professional baseball organization is about more than that. It’s also about relationship building – with players, agents, other GMs/executives, affiliates, fans, media and, I’m sure, many more stakeholders. It’s just too early for me to give a pass or fail grade at this point. If you missed any of the most recent roundtable discussions, here are the links: Grading Molitor Closing Time Prospect Promotions Hall of Fame Impact Baseball in 2028
  21. http://traffic.libsyn.com/gleemangeek/2018-08-05_COMPLETE.mp3 Sponsored by Pick and Shovel, Simple Contacts, Harry's Razors, Seatgeek and Bye, Goff & Rohde.
  22. Aaron and John talk about the Twins trading Brian Dozier, Lance Lynn, and Zach Duke at the deadline, updating the Twins' top prospect rankings to include trade pickups, looking ahead to the 2019 payroll and offseason plans, Free Johan!, and Trevor May's long comeback finally reaching the majors. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Stitcher, iHeartRadio or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click this link. Sponsored by Pick and Shovel, Simple Contacts, Harry's Razors, Seatgeek and Bye, Goff & Rohde. Click here to view the article
  23. All right, first thing’s first, here’s where all the players the Twins acquired are headed: Minnesota: Logan Forsythe Rochester: Chase De Jong, Tyler Austin. Chattanooga: Devin Smeltzer, Luke Raley, Jorge Alcala (on the DL) Fort Myers: Ryan Costello, Ernie De La Trinidad Cedar Rapids: Jhoan Duran, Gabriel Maciel Elizabethton: Luis Rijo, Gilberto Celestino So who are the best prospects the Twins acquired? Well 10 of the 12 guys the Twins added (everyone but Forsythe and Austin) still qualify for prospect status. I’m still getting up to speed on a lot of these guys, especially the ones acquired this week, so I’ll defer to another source. Baseball America published a fun list today. They ranked all the prospects dealt at the deadline, and the order they had the new guys in made a lot of sense to me. -Jorge Alcala -Gilberto Celestino -Jhoan Duran -Luke Raley -Chase De Jong -Luis Rijo -Devin Smeltzer -Gabriel Maciel -Ryan Costello -Ernie De La Trinidad Personally, I’d strongly consider putting Celestino on top. I also might put Rijo and Maciel above De Jong. Anyway, BA has capsules written up on those top three guys, and it’s just kind of interesting to see where they have them listed among all the prospects on the move. But, I’m going to make you click the link to go check out the rest of that stuff if you’re interested. All right, so let’s take a look at each trade individually. On each of these, I’m going to provide the link to the Twins Daily article published when the deals broke and also link to the Baseball Prospectus Transaction Analysis piece for each. Friend of the site Aaron Gleeman and the rest of the staff at B-Pro did an excellent job at breaking down each piece of each of these trades, so again, I’ll tip my cap to another outlet and encourage you to check those out. The grades though, those will be all me. Any grade disputes must be taken up with the Dean Friday, July 27 Twins give: Eduardo Escobar Twins get: OF Ernie De La Trinidad, RHP Jhoan Duran, OF Gabriel Maciel Additional info: Twins Daily | Baseball Prospectus Tom’s grade: B Escobar was my favorite Twins player, but it just made too much sense to trade him away. It’s encouraging to hear the Twins approached him about an extension prior to shipping him off, and here’s hoping they engage with his camp again once he becomes a free agent. Eduardo was having a career year and will hit free agency at the end of the season, so it was difficult to envision the Twins netting a huge haul. I think Duran is a nice add, and he already made a great first impression, throwing seven no-hit innings in his Cedar Rapids debut. It sounds to me like he has a better chance at reaching the majors as a starter than Alcala does, though he doesn’t have quite as high of a ceiling. Maciel will skyrocket up prospect lists if he ever develops power. He’s a switch hitter who’s billed as a legit center fielder with elite speed, so even if the power never arrives he could be a fourth outfielder. De La Trinidad was a college draftee taken in the 19th round last year. His upside seems limited, but hitters hit. He’s got a career .874 OPS so far in the minors, so that at least makes him an intriguing throw-in. Friday, July 27 Twins give: Ryan Pressly Twins get: RHP Jorge Alcala, OF Gilberto Celestino Additional info: Twins Daily | Baseball Prospectus Tom’s grade: A I love this deal. Pressly was the only player they moved who was going to still be under team control next season, but in parting with him, they acquired what I consider to be the two most valuable pieces among the dozen players that were acquired. Yes, Alcala was immediately placed on the DL with a right trap strain, but I think it’s a good sign that happened before he threw a single pitch in the Twins’ org. That suggests two things to me: 1) The Twins’ staff was able to uncover something in Alcala’s medicals and is getting out in front of this issue, and 2) I’d be willing to bet they used that information to leverage this deal with Houston. Celestino signed out of the Dominican Republic for a big bonus and he's living up to that billing so far. Not many guys put up the kind of numbers he was in the New York Penn League. He was fourth in batting average, sixth in OBP, seventh in slugging and was 14-for-14 on stolen base attempts in the NYPL. Pressly throws absolute filth and was having a strong season, but bullpen arms are so unpredictable and I feel like there are a lot of different ways the Twins could replace a guy like Pressly. Monday, July 30 Twins give: Zach Duke Twins get: RHP Chase De Jong, 1B/3B Ryan Costello Additional info: Twins Daily | Baseball Prospectus Tom’s grade: C To Twins fans, Duke may not seem like much of a prize, but he is among the best left-handed specialists in baseball. Duke has faced 425 left-handed hitters since the start of the 2014 season, and southpaws have hit just .214/.286/.316 off him. Since he was on an expiring contract, Duke was never going to fetch anything similar to the Pressly haul, and I’m not real impressed with what the Twins netted from Seattle. De Jong might be an interesting candidate to stick in the bullpen and see what happens, but it’s very difficult to see him ever working his way into the picture here as a starter. Maybe Costello is going to make me eat my words someday, but he was a 31st-round pick last year. Despite that underwhelming pedigree, he certainly deserves respect for putting up some of the better power numbers in the Midwest League this season. Again, hitters hit. Monday, July 30 Twins give: Lance Lynn Twins get: Tyler Austin, Luis Rijo Additional info: Twins Daily | Baseball Prospectus Tom’s grade: A I love this deal too, but for very different reasons than the Pressly trade. I just didn’t think Lynn had this kind of value. He fits the profile of exactly the type of pitcher a contending team should be looking to replace. Don’t get me wrong, he did really turn things around from May forward, but in my opinion he’s a second-division big league pitcher even at his best. Maybe the Yankees are onto something in using him in long relief, I don’t know. It’s worth noting that the Twins are paying half of Lynn’s salary, but this is still a really good return in my eyes. Tyler Austin could be a platoon 1B/RF/DH right now. The contact issues are a concern, but he crushes lefties and Target Field has been a pretty kind environment for right-handed power hitters. Honestly, if this was Lynn for Luis Rijo straight up I would have been impressed. Rijo has an insane 8.36 K:BB ratio in 125 ⅓ innings over his minor league career. He also tops out at 93 mph, so it’s not like it’s all just smoke and mirrors. And on top of all that, Lynn’s departure from the team opened up a spot for Adalberto Mejia to get a much-deserved chance in the rotation. Win, win, win, it’s looking all good here to me. Tuesday, July 31 Twins give: Brian Dozier Twins get: 2B Logan Forsythe, OF/1B Luke Raley, LHP Devin Smeltzer Additional info: Twins Daily | Baseball Prospectus Tom’s grade: D I’m certain this was the best deal the Twins could get on July 31, less than an hour before the deadline. What I’m not certain of is if that was the best time to deal him. You never know how these things work out, and both Ian Kinsler and Jonathan Schoop entering the trade market late had to have complicated things, but I suspect the Twins could have gotten a better package if they had made the deal earlier, or may have even been able to find a better waiver trade partner this month. Of course, there was always the option to keep Dozier and extend a qualifying offer to him. Maybe he would have accepted, but I’m of the mind that there’s really no such thing as a bad one-year deal. Why did I think this was the Twins’ worst trade? Mainly because of who they were forced to take back. Logan Forsythe, the only major leaguer the Twins acquired in all these deals, actually has extreme negative trade value. This seems to defy logic, but the business of baseball is funny. His inclusion basically made this deal cash neutral. There was probably never going to be a deal with the Dodgers that didn’t have to include Forsythe, since they’re trying to avoid luxury tax penalties, but that’s exactly why you don’t make a deal with them in the first place. I typically don’t care much what happens to the Pohlad’s money (did you see how I just suggested they give Dozier $18 million?), but you’ve still got to acknowledge that money is an asset to a baseball team. If you get rid of Dozier, I think you need to find a way to get rid of that money too. If Forsythe’s not in this trade, I give it at least a C, maybe even a B. Heck, if I just look at this deal in a vacuum, which is what I originally did yesterday, I might give it a C. But when you zoom out and look at the big picture of what happened across baseball leading up to and on deadline day, it definitely feels like the Twins may have hurt their odds at maximizing a return. Tough thing for me to say from the outside looking in, but that’s how I feel. Raley is putting up really good numbers in Double A, but he’s already 24 and it’s just really hard to break into the bigs as a corner outfield/first base type. On the plus side, Raley also sounds like the type of guy in terms of makeup who goes out and proves idiots like me wrong, so I’m excited to see how this plays out. Smeltzer is left-handed, that’s always a plus. He’s also relatively close to the majors (he’s spent all year in Double A) and his strikeout numbers saw a boost when he recently shifted to the bullpen. However, it sounds like he has a fairly straight, fairly slow fastball, so … All right, so there’s my report card. The front office comes away with a 2.8 GPA. Not exactly Ivy League material, but in my eyes they get a solid passing grade for what was a difficult trade deadline to navigate for them. Maybe they also deserve some extra credit for the non-move they made by keeping Kyle Gibson. So now it’s your turn, how would you grade the Twins’ trade deadline?
  24. What a whirlwind of a week it’s been. Now that the dust has settled on the trade deadline, let’s take a look at which affiliate each of these new pieces is headed to, try to rank the new prospects and hand out individual grades for each of the five deals Derek Falvey & Co. made.All right, first thing’s first, here’s where all the players the Twins acquired are headed: Minnesota: Logan Forsythe Rochester: Chase De Jong, Tyler Austin. Chattanooga: Devin Smeltzer, Luke Raley, Jorge Alcala (on the DL) Fort Myers: Ryan Costello, Ernie De La Trinidad Cedar Rapids: Jhoan Duran, Gabriel Maciel Elizabethton: Luis Rijo, Gilberto Celestino So who are the best prospects the Twins acquired? Well 10 of the 12 guys the Twins added (everyone but Forsythe and Austin) still qualify for prospect status. I’m still getting up to speed on a lot of these guys, especially the ones acquired this week, so I’ll defer to another source. Baseball America published a fun list today. They ranked all the prospects dealt at the deadline, and the order they had the new guys in made a lot of sense to me. -Jorge Alcala -Gilberto Celestino -Jhoan Duran -Luke Raley -Chase De Jong -Luis Rijo -Devin Smeltzer -Gabriel Maciel -Ryan Costello -Ernie De La Trinidad Personally, I’d strongly consider putting Celestino on top. I also might put Rijo and Maciel above De Jong. Anyway, BA has capsules written up on those top three guys, and it’s just kind of interesting to see where they have them listed among all the prospects on the move. But, I’m going to make you click the link to go check out the rest of that stuff if you’re interested. All right, so let’s take a look at each trade individually. On each of these, I’m going to provide the link to the Twins Daily article published when the deals broke and also link to the Baseball Prospectus Transaction Analysis piece for each. Friend of the site Aaron Gleeman and the rest of the staff at B-Pro did an excellent job at breaking down each piece of each of these trades, so again, I’ll tip my cap to another outlet and encourage you to check those out. The grades though, those will be all me. Any grade disputes must be taken up with the Dean Friday, July 27 Twins give: Eduardo Escobar Twins get: OF Ernie De La Trinidad, RHP Jhoan Duran, OF Gabriel Maciel Additional info: Twins Daily | Baseball Prospectus Tom’s grade: B Escobar was my favorite Twins player, but it just made too much sense to trade him away. It’s encouraging to hear the Twins approached him about an extension prior to shipping him off, and here’s hoping they engage with his camp again once he becomes a free agent. Eduardo was having a career year and will hit free agency at the end of the season, so it was difficult to envision the Twins netting a huge haul. I think Duran is a nice add, and he already made a great first impression, throwing seven no-hit innings in his Cedar Rapids debut. It sounds to me like he has a better chance at reaching the majors as a starter than Alcala does, though he doesn’t have quite as high of a ceiling. Maciel will skyrocket up prospect lists if he ever develops power. He’s a switch hitter who’s billed as a legit center fielder with elite speed, so even if the power never arrives he could be a fourth outfielder. De La Trinidad was a college draftee taken in the 19th round last year. His upside seems limited, but hitters hit. He’s got a career .874 OPS so far in the minors, so that at least makes him an intriguing throw-in. Friday, July 27 Twins give: Ryan Pressly Twins get: RHP Jorge Alcala, OF Gilberto Celestino Additional info: Twins Daily | Baseball Prospectus Tom’s grade: A I love this deal. Pressly was the only player they moved who was going to still be under team control next season, but in parting with him, they acquired what I consider to be the two most valuable pieces among the dozen players that were acquired. Yes, Alcala was immediately placed on the DL with a right trap strain, but I think it’s a good sign that happened before he threw a single pitch in the Twins’ org. That suggests two things to me: 1) The Twins’ staff was able to uncover something in Alcala’s medicals and is getting out in front of this issue, and 2) I’d be willing to bet they used that information to leverage this deal with Houston. Celestino signed out of the Dominican Republic for a big bonus and he's living up to that billing so far. Not many guys put up the kind of numbers he was in the New York Penn League. He was fourth in batting average, sixth in OBP, seventh in slugging and was 14-for-14 on stolen base attempts in the NYPL. Pressly throws absolute filth and was having a strong season, but bullpen arms are so unpredictable and I feel like there are a lot of different ways the Twins could replace a guy like Pressly. Monday, July 30 Twins give: Zach Duke Twins get: RHP Chase De Jong, 1B/3B Ryan Costello Additional info: Twins Daily | Baseball Prospectus Tom’s grade: C To Twins fans, Duke may not seem like much of a prize, but he is among the best left-handed specialists in baseball. Duke has faced 425 left-handed hitters since the start of the 2014 season, and southpaws have hit just .214/.286/.316 off him. Since he was on an expiring contract, Duke was never going to fetch anything similar to the Pressly haul, and I’m not real impressed with what the Twins netted from Seattle. De Jong might be an interesting candidate to stick in the bullpen and see what happens, but it’s very difficult to see him ever working his way into the picture here as a starter. Maybe Costello is going to make me eat my words someday, but he was a 31st-round pick last year. Despite that underwhelming pedigree, he certainly deserves respect for putting up some of the better power numbers in the Midwest League this season. Again, hitters hit. Monday, July 30 Twins give: Lance Lynn Twins get: Tyler Austin, Luis Rijo Additional info: Twins Daily | Baseball Prospectus Tom’s grade: A I love this deal too, but for very different reasons than the Pressly trade. I just didn’t think Lynn had this kind of value. He fits the profile of exactly the type of pitcher a contending team should be looking to replace. Don’t get me wrong, he did really turn things around from May forward, but in my opinion he’s a second-division big league pitcher even at his best. Maybe the Yankees are onto something in using him in long relief, I don’t know. It’s worth noting that the Twins are paying half of Lynn’s salary, but this is still a really good return in my eyes. Tyler Austin could be a platoon 1B/RF/DH right now. The contact issues are a concern, but he crushes lefties and Target Field has been a pretty kind environment for right-handed power hitters. Honestly, if this was Lynn for Luis Rijo straight up I would have been impressed. Rijo has an insane 8.36 K:BB ratio in 125 ⅓ innings over his minor league career. He also tops out at 93 mph, so it’s not like it’s all just smoke and mirrors. And on top of all that, Lynn’s departure from the team opened up a spot for Adalberto Mejia to get a much-deserved chance in the rotation. Win, win, win, it’s looking all good here to me. Tuesday, July 31 Twins give: Brian Dozier Twins get: 2B Logan Forsythe, OF/1B Luke Raley, LHP Devin Smeltzer Additional info: Twins Daily | Baseball Prospectus Tom’s grade: D I’m certain this was the best deal the Twins could get on July 31, less than an hour before the deadline. What I’m not certain of is if that was the best time to deal him. You never know how these things work out, and both Ian Kinsler and Jonathan Schoop entering the trade market late had to have complicated things, but I suspect the Twins could have gotten a better package if they had made the deal earlier, or may have even been able to find a better waiver trade partner this month. Of course, there was always the option to keep Dozier and extend a qualifying offer to him. Maybe he would have accepted, but I’m of the mind that there’s really no such thing as a bad one-year deal. Why did I think this was the Twins’ worst trade? Mainly because of who they were forced to take back. Logan Forsythe, the only major leaguer the Twins acquired in all these deals, actually has extreme negative trade value. This seems to defy logic, but the business of baseball is funny. His inclusion basically made this deal cash neutral. There was probably never going to be a deal with the Dodgers that didn’t have to include Forsythe, since they’re trying to avoid luxury tax penalties, but that’s exactly why you don’t make a deal with them in the first place. I typically don’t care much what happens to the Pohlad’s money (did you see how I just suggested they give Dozier $18 million?), but you’ve still got to acknowledge that money is an asset to a baseball team. If you get rid of Dozier, I think you need to find a way to get rid of that money too. If Forsythe’s not in this trade, I give it at least a C, maybe even a B. Heck, if I just look at this deal in a vacuum, which is what I originally did yesterday, I might give it a C. But when you zoom out and look at the big picture of what happened across baseball leading up to and on deadline day, it definitely feels like the Twins may have hurt their odds at maximizing a return. Tough thing for me to say from the outside looking in, but that’s how I feel. Raley is putting up really good numbers in Double A, but he’s already 24 and it’s just really hard to break into the bigs as a corner outfield/first base type. On the plus side, Raley also sounds like the type of guy in terms of makeup who goes out and proves idiots like me wrong, so I’m excited to see how this plays out. Smeltzer is left-handed, that’s always a plus. He’s also relatively close to the majors (he’s spent all year in Double A) and his strikeout numbers saw a boost when he recently shifted to the bullpen. However, it sounds like he has a fairly straight, fairly slow fastball, so … All right, so there’s my report card. The front office comes away with a 2.8 GPA. Not exactly Ivy League material, but in my eyes they get a solid passing grade for what was a difficult trade deadline to navigate for them. Maybe they also deserve some extra credit for the non-move they made by keeping Kyle Gibson. So now it’s your turn, how would you grade the Twins’ trade deadline? 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