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  1. The Minnesota Twins are guaranteed to be active during the next week. They have some significant roster decisions to address, both from an internal and talent acquisition standpoint. Looking at a few possibilities, all of the options could send substantial waves throughout the organization. Although this is trade deadline season, roster decisions aren’t just going to be made from the perspective of adding talent. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine will be tasked with figuring out which players make sense on the active roster now, and who they see as needing to be a part of the future. Considering three external options and one internal, which of the four following scenarios winds up being the most seismic move made in Twins Territory over the next week? 1. Miguel Sano gets DFA’d Having last played on April 30 and then undergoing knee surgery, Sano has found himself working his way back yet again. He began a rehab assignment on July 4 and posted a very strong 1.217 OPS across 12 games in his 20 allowable days. The biggest detractor for any team being interested in acquiring Sano is the correlation between production and pay. He’s still owed something north of $6 million combining the duration of this season and his buyout. Minnesota could swallow some of that when trying to find a trade partner, but he could also be a candidate to be DFA’d. Sano has had ups and downs in a Twins uniform, but leaving in a season having played less than 25 games and with a sub .500 OPS would be about as low as it gets. 2. A Frontline Starter is Acquired Fans have been clamoring since the offseason for Minnesota to acquire top-tier pitching. Sonny Gray qualified as that when the front office flipped former first-round pick Chase Petty. It’s clear that this rotation could use someone of equal or similar-ilk when looking towards the Postseason. There are not exactly that many names out there to be had, but this group would look like a deal for Frankie Montas, a pact for Luis Castillo, acquiring Tyler Mahle, or potentially netting Blake Snell. There are other starters that will be moved, but it’s hard to come up with many more names that will reach this level. 3. High-Leverage Relief is Grabbed Alongside a starter, Minnesota absolutely needs help in the bullpen. It’s been one of the worst units in the league for significant stretches this season, and outside of Jhoan Duran, the group has largely been shuffling deck chairs. It’s good that Tyler Duffey seems to have turned a corner, and maybe someone else emerges down the stretch, but it’s hard to view Jorge Alcala as a potential to return prominently at this point. A reliever in this category would be along the lines of Pirates All-Star David Bednar or Rockies closer Daniel Bard. If the Twins are going to be serious about the bullpen, they need a mate for Duran and someone that can confidently eat outs in the late innings. 4. Shock the Lineup With a Bat Arguably one of the hottest and coldest things for Rocco Baldelli’s club this season has been the lineup and run production. The worst position on the roster offensively has been behind the plate, and that was before Ryan Jeffers suffered a two-month injury. There aren't a ton of places for the Twins to prioritize a bat, but a backstop could be it. Willson Contreras is all but certain to be moved by the Cubs, and although it’s a luxury, man would that elevate Minnesota on both sides of the ball. Bovada also tabbed Minnesota as favorites to acquire the Nationals Jose Bell, which would be an odd fit, but he’s certainly been great this season. Which of these scenarios would be most surprising to you? Which one seems most likely? View full article
  2. Although this is trade deadline season, roster decisions aren’t just going to be made from the perspective of adding talent. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine will be tasked with figuring out which players make sense on the active roster now, and who they see as needing to be a part of the future. Considering three external options and one internal, which of the four following scenarios winds up being the most seismic move made in Twins Territory over the next week? 1. Miguel Sano gets DFA’d Having last played on April 30 and then undergoing knee surgery, Sano has found himself working his way back yet again. He began a rehab assignment on July 4 and posted a very strong 1.217 OPS across 12 games in his 20 allowable days. The biggest detractor for any team being interested in acquiring Sano is the correlation between production and pay. He’s still owed something north of $6 million combining the duration of this season and his buyout. Minnesota could swallow some of that when trying to find a trade partner, but he could also be a candidate to be DFA’d. Sano has had ups and downs in a Twins uniform, but leaving in a season having played less than 25 games and with a sub .500 OPS would be about as low as it gets. 2. A Frontline Starter is Acquired Fans have been clamoring since the offseason for Minnesota to acquire top-tier pitching. Sonny Gray qualified as that when the front office flipped former first-round pick Chase Petty. It’s clear that this rotation could use someone of equal or similar-ilk when looking towards the Postseason. There are not exactly that many names out there to be had, but this group would look like a deal for Frankie Montas, a pact for Luis Castillo, acquiring Tyler Mahle, or potentially netting Blake Snell. There are other starters that will be moved, but it’s hard to come up with many more names that will reach this level. 3. High-Leverage Relief is Grabbed Alongside a starter, Minnesota absolutely needs help in the bullpen. It’s been one of the worst units in the league for significant stretches this season, and outside of Jhoan Duran, the group has largely been shuffling deck chairs. It’s good that Tyler Duffey seems to have turned a corner, and maybe someone else emerges down the stretch, but it’s hard to view Jorge Alcala as a potential to return prominently at this point. A reliever in this category would be along the lines of Pirates All-Star David Bednar or Rockies closer Daniel Bard. If the Twins are going to be serious about the bullpen, they need a mate for Duran and someone that can confidently eat outs in the late innings. 4. Shock the Lineup With a Bat Arguably one of the hottest and coldest things for Rocco Baldelli’s club this season has been the lineup and run production. The worst position on the roster offensively has been behind the plate, and that was before Ryan Jeffers suffered a two-month injury. There aren't a ton of places for the Twins to prioritize a bat, but a backstop could be it. Willson Contreras is all but certain to be moved by the Cubs, and although it’s a luxury, man would that elevate Minnesota on both sides of the ball. Bovada also tabbed Minnesota as favorites to acquire the Nationals Jose Bell, which would be an odd fit, but he’s certainly been great this season. Which of these scenarios would be most surprising to you? Which one seems most likely?
  3. We are officially into trade deadline season and the Minnesota Twins are leading the American League Central Division. Knowing that this club should add in order to make a Postseason push, there’s plenty of places the roster could afford an influx of ability. Last week I wrote a Trade Manifesto presenting 49 names that could be a potential fit to the Twins rosters. The piece covered hitters and pitchers alike, but in this space, we’ll key in on starters. Rocco Baldelli has gotten more than could’ve been expected from Chris Archer and Dylan Bundy, but Sonny Gray and Joe Ryan can’t carry the load themselves. Minnesota has used 10 different starting pitchers this season, and that number should be expected to rise before the final game. Adding a more stabilizing talent to the group would be a substantial benefit. Even if Kenta Maeda comes back this season, he's likely to be in relief. The 5 Best Relief Pitching Trade Targets The 5 Best Hitting Trade Targets Here are the five best names from the Trade Manifesto that they could acquire: Luis Castillo - Cincinnati Reds - 29 yrs old 1.5 fWAR 3.09 ERA 3.24 FIP 9.3 K/9 The Reds missed Castillo’s presence to begin the year as he was dealing with an injury, but then again they just lost a ton of games he wasn’t part of. Castillo is back to being the dominant starter he’s always been and may be the biggest name on the starting pitching market. Castillo’s xFIP and xERA numbers are both roughly the exact same as the actual marks. His strike and walk numbers are basically what they’ve always been, which is to say very good. The Reds starter has a big 96.8 mph average fastball, but he’s heavily reliant on offspeed to set it up. His whiff and chase rates are both down, but barring there are no big red flags in terms of health, this is an elite arm in every sense of the word. It would also be interesting to see Minnesota pair Castillo with former teammate, Gray. Castillo is being paid $7.35 million this year and is in his final year of arbitration in 2023 before hitting free agency in 2024. Pablo Lopez - Miami Marlins - 26 yrs old 1.6 fWAR 2.97 ERA 3.54 FIP 8.9 K/9 Miami has two solid arms that should draw plenty of attention. Sandy Alcantara would top this list, but it seems malpractice to deal a guy you just signed to a five-year deal this offseason. Maybe the Marlins would prefer to extend Lopez this offseason, but he should draw plenty of trade interest. The xERA and xFIP numbers aren’t as glowing as the ERA, but the peripherals are intriguing. A loss of just over one mph off of his average fastball velocity from last season is concerning, but he’s also using his fastball more than ever. Lopez has a career-high whiff rate and reason to believe in future projection. He’s being paid just $2.45 million this season and isn’t a free agent until 2025. Merrill Kelly - Arizona Diamondbacks - 33 yrs old 1.7 fWAR 3.46 ERA 3.40 FIP 7.3 K/9 It may be Zac Gallen that’s the more coveted arm from Arizona, but Kelly currently shows up here. He’s not a high strikeout guy, and the 4.05 xFIP isn’t dazzling even if the 3.58 xERA doesn’t suggest substantial regression. Kelly is giving up more free passes this season, but allowing fewer homers. The 28.8% hard-hit rate is solid, and he misses solid contact with just a 92.5 mph fastball. Most of Kelly’s pitches play of variations from his fastball, but he relies pretty heavily on getting ground balls at a rate close to 50% of the time. Kelly is being paid $5.25 million this season, with another $18 million that kicks in next season and runs through 2024. He then has a $7 million team option in 2025, which would be his age-36 season. Frankie Montas - Oakland Athletics - 29 yrs old 1.9 fWAR 3.26 ERA 3.30 FIP 9.3 K/9 The Athletics are largely playing with fire in regards to Montas. He was dangled in the offseason and now they’ve run him out for 17 starts. He left his most recent outing with what’s being called precautionary for shoulder inflammation, but Montas being hurt would substantially shift the market. He’s been every bit the pitcher he was in 2021, when he finished 6th in the American League Cy Young voting. Montas has had a 96 mph fastball for years now, and his 12.9% whiff rate is above his career average. There’s not a ton of mystery here, Montas will be among the most coveted arms on the market if he’s healthy. Being paid $5.03 million this season before a final year of arbitration eligibility next year, Montas becomes a free agent in 2024. Tyler Mahle - Cincinnati Reds - 27 yrs old 2.0 fWAR 4.48 ERA 3.55 FIP 9.9 K/9 If there’s an arm that could have more to give, it may be Mahle’s. He owns a 3.22 xERA although there is the 4.05 xFIP. Mahle doesn’t allow hard contact, having last been over 30% in 2019. This season his fly ball rate and ground ball rate have flipped, but he’s still generate a strong whiff and chase rate. Mahle is a mid-velocity starter averaging 93.7 mph on his fastball. He’s just now starting to use his slider a bit more, and Minnesota may make tweaks to that arsenal with hopes of squeezing out more value. Mahle may not be at his best, but he’s still very good, paid just $5.2 million this season, and is under team control next year. Which starter would you like to see the Twins trade for and why? View full article
  4. Last week I wrote a Trade Manifesto presenting 49 names that could be a potential fit to the Twins rosters. The piece covered hitters and pitchers alike, but in this space, we’ll key in on starters. Rocco Baldelli has gotten more than could’ve been expected from Chris Archer and Dylan Bundy, but Sonny Gray and Joe Ryan can’t carry the load themselves. Minnesota has used 10 different starting pitchers this season, and that number should be expected to rise before the final game. Adding a more stabilizing talent to the group would be a substantial benefit. Even if Kenta Maeda comes back this season, he's likely to be in relief. The 5 Best Relief Pitching Trade Targets The 5 Best Hitting Trade Targets Here are the five best names from the Trade Manifesto that they could acquire: Luis Castillo - Cincinnati Reds - 29 yrs old 1.5 fWAR 3.09 ERA 3.24 FIP 9.3 K/9 The Reds missed Castillo’s presence to begin the year as he was dealing with an injury, but then again they just lost a ton of games he wasn’t part of. Castillo is back to being the dominant starter he’s always been and may be the biggest name on the starting pitching market. Castillo’s xFIP and xERA numbers are both roughly the exact same as the actual marks. His strike and walk numbers are basically what they’ve always been, which is to say very good. The Reds starter has a big 96.8 mph average fastball, but he’s heavily reliant on offspeed to set it up. His whiff and chase rates are both down, but barring there are no big red flags in terms of health, this is an elite arm in every sense of the word. It would also be interesting to see Minnesota pair Castillo with former teammate, Gray. Castillo is being paid $7.35 million this year and is in his final year of arbitration in 2023 before hitting free agency in 2024. Pablo Lopez - Miami Marlins - 26 yrs old 1.6 fWAR 2.97 ERA 3.54 FIP 8.9 K/9 Miami has two solid arms that should draw plenty of attention. Sandy Alcantara would top this list, but it seems malpractice to deal a guy you just signed to a five-year deal this offseason. Maybe the Marlins would prefer to extend Lopez this offseason, but he should draw plenty of trade interest. The xERA and xFIP numbers aren’t as glowing as the ERA, but the peripherals are intriguing. A loss of just over one mph off of his average fastball velocity from last season is concerning, but he’s also using his fastball more than ever. Lopez has a career-high whiff rate and reason to believe in future projection. He’s being paid just $2.45 million this season and isn’t a free agent until 2025. Merrill Kelly - Arizona Diamondbacks - 33 yrs old 1.7 fWAR 3.46 ERA 3.40 FIP 7.3 K/9 It may be Zac Gallen that’s the more coveted arm from Arizona, but Kelly currently shows up here. He’s not a high strikeout guy, and the 4.05 xFIP isn’t dazzling even if the 3.58 xERA doesn’t suggest substantial regression. Kelly is giving up more free passes this season, but allowing fewer homers. The 28.8% hard-hit rate is solid, and he misses solid contact with just a 92.5 mph fastball. Most of Kelly’s pitches play of variations from his fastball, but he relies pretty heavily on getting ground balls at a rate close to 50% of the time. Kelly is being paid $5.25 million this season, with another $18 million that kicks in next season and runs through 2024. He then has a $7 million team option in 2025, which would be his age-36 season. Frankie Montas - Oakland Athletics - 29 yrs old 1.9 fWAR 3.26 ERA 3.30 FIP 9.3 K/9 The Athletics are largely playing with fire in regards to Montas. He was dangled in the offseason and now they’ve run him out for 17 starts. He left his most recent outing with what’s being called precautionary for shoulder inflammation, but Montas being hurt would substantially shift the market. He’s been every bit the pitcher he was in 2021, when he finished 6th in the American League Cy Young voting. Montas has had a 96 mph fastball for years now, and his 12.9% whiff rate is above his career average. There’s not a ton of mystery here, Montas will be among the most coveted arms on the market if he’s healthy. Being paid $5.03 million this season before a final year of arbitration eligibility next year, Montas becomes a free agent in 2024. Tyler Mahle - Cincinnati Reds - 27 yrs old 2.0 fWAR 4.48 ERA 3.55 FIP 9.9 K/9 If there’s an arm that could have more to give, it may be Mahle’s. He owns a 3.22 xERA although there is the 4.05 xFIP. Mahle doesn’t allow hard contact, having last been over 30% in 2019. This season his fly ball rate and ground ball rate have flipped, but he’s still generate a strong whiff and chase rate. Mahle is a mid-velocity starter averaging 93.7 mph on his fastball. He’s just now starting to use his slider a bit more, and Minnesota may make tweaks to that arsenal with hopes of squeezing out more value. Mahle may not be at his best, but he’s still very good, paid just $5.2 million this season, and is under team control next year. Which starter would you like to see the Twins trade for and why?
  5. The Minnesota Twins are the cream of the crop in the AL Central to this point and if they want to stay that way into the Postseason they’ll need to make some key additions. Despite Major League Baseball’s attempts to force competition through the latest CBA negotiations, there’s still plenty of teams ready for a selloff. Who can Minnesota pillage from them? When looking into what teams have assets, and what assets could be moved, the categorization was left entirely evaluated upon two factors: what players are good, and do they also play on a bad team. At this time, it’s fair to estimate there are something like ten bad teams and these are their players that fit the bill. From a Minnesota perspective, it’s largely unrealistic to consider offensive options anything more than an unnecessary luxury, so we’ll dive into the arms that make sense. Oakland Athletics - Ramon Laureano, Frankie Montas, Paul Blackburn, Lou Trivino, A.J. Puk Yes, where’s Frankie right? Ok, so you know he’s legit. Montas is among the best arms to be considered on the market and he will command an absolute haul. I don’t know that the Twins have what it takes to land him, and I’m also not sure they need him. Blackburn is under team control through 2025 and is just 28 years old. He’s not a big strikeout guy, but the ERA, xERA, and xFIP are all good. He’s finally healthy and looks like a legit rotation arm. Trivino is the prize of this pen and the peripherals suggest he’s a solid talent. The K/9 has never been better and his advanced numbers are more enticing than anything on the surface. More than Montas, 30 years oldars-old even with team control, he may be the best arm moved at the deadline. Puk is a former top prospect and someone that will come with a price tag due to control, but he’s now an aging relief arm with Minnesota ties. Health is the reason he’s in the bullpen, but if you want to add him to a group you can build around this makes sense. Detroit Tigers - Michael Fulmer, Andrew Chafin A.J. Hinch is managing a dumpster fire and that’s not how this was expected to go. Fulmer is a former top prospect and first round pick, but at this stage he’s become expendable. As an impending free agent he’s all but certain to be moved and his 2.00 ERA has him near the top of this relief class. He walks too many and the 3.06 FIP suggests a bit of regression, but he’s got closing experience and has avoided the longball. Fulmer also has the 8th lowest barrel rate in baseball. Chafin is a journeyman having pitched for four teams in nine Major League seasons, but he’s flying under the radar in 2022. He’s on a two-year deal with Detroit, but his 2.10 FIP makes the 3.26 ERA even more exciting. He’s punching out more than 11 per nine innings while being stingy on homers and walks. This is another arm that should be among the most coveted during trade season. Kansas City Royals - Andrew Benintendi, Joel Payamps, Scott Barlow If you want Payamps you’ll probably need to pay up, even with as bad as the Royals are. He’s not arbitration eligible until 2024, and is only 28-years-old. Claimed by Kansas City a season ago, Payamps has posted a 2.42 ERA this season and backed it with a 3.17 FIP. He doesn’t strike out many and gives up too many walks, but he’s kept the ball in the yard and seems like a guy who could be a former waiver candidate parlayed into value. If you’re looking to extract value from the Royals, Barlow is probably the better bet. He’s under team control until 2024, and possesses a bit better upside. The velocity has dropped a bit this season, but there’s strikeout stuff to be had with a WHIP that’s never previously been touched. He may be at his worst, but unleashing his best could make him scary for the future. Miami Marlins - Jon Berti, Joey Wendle, Garrett Cooper, Miguel Rojas, Brian Anderson, Anthony Bass, Tanner Scott, Sandy Alcantara, Pablo Lopez Maybe the Marlins won’t sell off. They aren’t good and won’t win the division, but they’re hardly a dumpster fire. That likely takes Alcantara and Lopez off the table. Both of them should be seen as future pieces rather than something that be had at the deadline. In the bullpen though, there’s some intriguing talent. Bass is producing career best numbers and carries just a $3 million team option for next year. His FIP is strong even with his xFIP being a bit more inflated. Cole Sulser would be in the same camp age wise, but being on the injured list with a lat strain should bring pause. Maybe Scott is seen along similar future lines as the starters, and he’s under team control through 2024 so he’ll have an added price tag, but the peripherals are exciting. Scott has produced massive strikeout numbers, even with a bloated amount of walks, and both the FIP and xFIP suggest he could be an asset. Washington Nationals - Josh Bell, Tanner Rainey, Kyle Finnegan, C.J. Edwards Jr. Bell always seemed like a perfect bat for the Nationals to rent. At $10 million he never cost much, and he should net them something nice at the deadline. That’s not where Minnesota is looking though with Alex Kirilloff entrenched at first base. Both Rainey and Finnegan have somewhat competing numbers for Washington. The former has a shiny ERA with lesser peripherals while the latter has a higher ERA but an xFIP that’s wonderful. Neither should be seen as off limits, and both would be a nice upgrade in the pen. Edwards Jr. has seen past success when he was with the Cubs, but he had just 27 1/3 big league innings before this year since 2019, and that was spread between five different teams. He’s not the big strikeout guy he once was, but the walk rate is a career low and he’s given up just 12 hits across 27 innings this season. Pittsburgh Pirates - Jose Quintana, David Bednar It’s basically a yearly tradition that the Pirates will be bad and need to sell at the deadline, and 2022 is no different. If you want a rotation arm you could do worse than a former staff ace. Quintana has a mid-three ERA and a FIP to back it up. He’s more of a finesse starter at this point in his career, but he can still generate strikeouts and has pitched on good teams. Another option for best relief arm to be moved may be Bednar. Pittsburgh doesn’t need to piece him out, but he doesn’t really help a team this bad either. He strikes a ton of guys out, walks very few, and is great at stranding runners. Bednar would immediately be the best pitcher not named Jhoan Duran in the Twins bullpen. Chicago Cubs - Willson Contreras, David Robertson, Chris Martin, Ian Happ, Patrick Wisdom, Rafael Ortega, Scott Efross It’s anyone’s guess as to what the Cubs were doing this offseason. They spent on Marcus Stroman but weren’t going to be good on the dirt, and they parted with some big names in the year prior. At any rate, this club has hitters to deal. Contreras will be coveted, and Happ could probably be had too. I’m not a believer in Wisdom or Ortega but there’s a level of production you could desire. It seems like Robertson is a hired gun quite often and he finds himself there again. He’s 37, but the numbers are great even if peripherals suggest a slight bit of regression. Martin is also up there at 36, and his numbers aren’t quite as good, but you can dream on the 2.51 xFIP and hope the command and strikeouts remain. Effross might be the best name here, but he could also be someone Chicago decides to hang onto. He made his big-league debut last season and looks like a great relief arm. As good as the ERA is, his peripherals suggest he may even be better. Cincinnati Reds - Tyler Mahle, Luis Castillo, Brandon Drury, Tommy Pham, Kyle Farmer, Jeff Hoffman You could start with the man that slapped Joc Pederson, but Pham has no fit with the Twins. He’ll probably be moved and that story will then likely resurface again. Instead this is where the best starters come from in Mahle and Castillo. Mahle’s ERA isn’t good, but don’t let that sway anything, he’s been very solid this year. Castillo doesn’t fit the Twins typical mold as a changeup guy, but he’s as good as it gets. Both of them will command a Montas-like haul and will have virtually the same top teams vying for their services. Hoffman is a failed starter that has actually thrived in a full-time bullpen role. He doesn’t have the shine he did as a former top prospect or 9th overall pick, but the strikeout stuff is there. He does still walk too many, but he’s dropped the home run problems that plagued him previously. Arizona Diamondbacks - Christian Walker, Zac Gallen, David Peralta, Merrill Kelly, Joe Mantiply Needing an extra outfielder or a big bat could land you looking at the Diamondbacks, but the arms are also of note. Kelly and Gallen are the starters you want, though it’s Gallen’s combination of stuff and youth that make him the most appealing. These are the types of starting arms I could see as realistic consideration for Minnesota. Mantiply may wind up being my favorite reliever moved, however. He’s 31 and just finally broke through with the Diamondbacks last season. His stuff this year has been amazing, and he’s one of three pitchers at this moment yet to allow a barrel baseball. Colorado Rockies - C.J. Cron, Chad Kuhl, Daniel Bard, Connor Joe, Charlie Blackmon, Jose Iglesias Who knows what the Rockies will do given they don’t have a plan half of the time. Blackmon would seem a good bet to be moved but they also paid for Kris Bryant while allowing Jon Gray and Trevor Story to walk. Kuhl and Bard are pitchers worth prying from them. Kuhl’s xFIP is a bit scary, but his numbers have been good otherwise and he’s a guy who has flown under the radar for quite a bit. Bard has been one of the better late-inning arms this season and bounced back nicely from an ugly 2021. He’s a fantastic story that has reinvigorated his career but will be looking to close this chapter in the next couple of years. Who are some of your favorites from this list? Anyone that got missed and you’re hoping is moved? View full article
  6. When looking into what teams have assets, and what assets could be moved, the categorization was left entirely evaluated upon two factors: what players are good, and do they also play on a bad team. At this time, it’s fair to estimate there are something like ten bad teams and these are their players that fit the bill. From a Minnesota perspective, it’s largely unrealistic to consider offensive options anything more than an unnecessary luxury, so we’ll dive into the arms that make sense. Oakland Athletics - Ramon Laureano, Frankie Montas, Paul Blackburn, Lou Trivino, A.J. Puk Yes, where’s Frankie right? Ok, so you know he’s legit. Montas is among the best arms to be considered on the market and he will command an absolute haul. I don’t know that the Twins have what it takes to land him, and I’m also not sure they need him. Blackburn is under team control through 2025 and is just 28 years old. He’s not a big strikeout guy, but the ERA, xERA, and xFIP are all good. He’s finally healthy and looks like a legit rotation arm. Trivino is the prize of this pen and the peripherals suggest he’s a solid talent. The K/9 has never been better and his advanced numbers are more enticing than anything on the surface. More than Montas, 30 years oldars-old even with team control, he may be the best arm moved at the deadline. Puk is a former top prospect and someone that will come with a price tag due to control, but he’s now an aging relief arm with Minnesota ties. Health is the reason he’s in the bullpen, but if you want to add him to a group you can build around this makes sense. Detroit Tigers - Michael Fulmer, Andrew Chafin A.J. Hinch is managing a dumpster fire and that’s not how this was expected to go. Fulmer is a former top prospect and first round pick, but at this stage he’s become expendable. As an impending free agent he’s all but certain to be moved and his 2.00 ERA has him near the top of this relief class. He walks too many and the 3.06 FIP suggests a bit of regression, but he’s got closing experience and has avoided the longball. Fulmer also has the 8th lowest barrel rate in baseball. Chafin is a journeyman having pitched for four teams in nine Major League seasons, but he’s flying under the radar in 2022. He’s on a two-year deal with Detroit, but his 2.10 FIP makes the 3.26 ERA even more exciting. He’s punching out more than 11 per nine innings while being stingy on homers and walks. This is another arm that should be among the most coveted during trade season. Kansas City Royals - Andrew Benintendi, Joel Payamps, Scott Barlow If you want Payamps you’ll probably need to pay up, even with as bad as the Royals are. He’s not arbitration eligible until 2024, and is only 28-years-old. Claimed by Kansas City a season ago, Payamps has posted a 2.42 ERA this season and backed it with a 3.17 FIP. He doesn’t strike out many and gives up too many walks, but he’s kept the ball in the yard and seems like a guy who could be a former waiver candidate parlayed into value. If you’re looking to extract value from the Royals, Barlow is probably the better bet. He’s under team control until 2024, and possesses a bit better upside. The velocity has dropped a bit this season, but there’s strikeout stuff to be had with a WHIP that’s never previously been touched. He may be at his worst, but unleashing his best could make him scary for the future. Miami Marlins - Jon Berti, Joey Wendle, Garrett Cooper, Miguel Rojas, Brian Anderson, Anthony Bass, Tanner Scott, Sandy Alcantara, Pablo Lopez Maybe the Marlins won’t sell off. They aren’t good and won’t win the division, but they’re hardly a dumpster fire. That likely takes Alcantara and Lopez off the table. Both of them should be seen as future pieces rather than something that be had at the deadline. In the bullpen though, there’s some intriguing talent. Bass is producing career best numbers and carries just a $3 million team option for next year. His FIP is strong even with his xFIP being a bit more inflated. Cole Sulser would be in the same camp age wise, but being on the injured list with a lat strain should bring pause. Maybe Scott is seen along similar future lines as the starters, and he’s under team control through 2024 so he’ll have an added price tag, but the peripherals are exciting. Scott has produced massive strikeout numbers, even with a bloated amount of walks, and both the FIP and xFIP suggest he could be an asset. Washington Nationals - Josh Bell, Tanner Rainey, Kyle Finnegan, C.J. Edwards Jr. Bell always seemed like a perfect bat for the Nationals to rent. At $10 million he never cost much, and he should net them something nice at the deadline. That’s not where Minnesota is looking though with Alex Kirilloff entrenched at first base. Both Rainey and Finnegan have somewhat competing numbers for Washington. The former has a shiny ERA with lesser peripherals while the latter has a higher ERA but an xFIP that’s wonderful. Neither should be seen as off limits, and both would be a nice upgrade in the pen. Edwards Jr. has seen past success when he was with the Cubs, but he had just 27 1/3 big league innings before this year since 2019, and that was spread between five different teams. He’s not the big strikeout guy he once was, but the walk rate is a career low and he’s given up just 12 hits across 27 innings this season. Pittsburgh Pirates - Jose Quintana, David Bednar It’s basically a yearly tradition that the Pirates will be bad and need to sell at the deadline, and 2022 is no different. If you want a rotation arm you could do worse than a former staff ace. Quintana has a mid-three ERA and a FIP to back it up. He’s more of a finesse starter at this point in his career, but he can still generate strikeouts and has pitched on good teams. Another option for best relief arm to be moved may be Bednar. Pittsburgh doesn’t need to piece him out, but he doesn’t really help a team this bad either. He strikes a ton of guys out, walks very few, and is great at stranding runners. Bednar would immediately be the best pitcher not named Jhoan Duran in the Twins bullpen. Chicago Cubs - Willson Contreras, David Robertson, Chris Martin, Ian Happ, Patrick Wisdom, Rafael Ortega, Scott Efross It’s anyone’s guess as to what the Cubs were doing this offseason. They spent on Marcus Stroman but weren’t going to be good on the dirt, and they parted with some big names in the year prior. At any rate, this club has hitters to deal. Contreras will be coveted, and Happ could probably be had too. I’m not a believer in Wisdom or Ortega but there’s a level of production you could desire. It seems like Robertson is a hired gun quite often and he finds himself there again. He’s 37, but the numbers are great even if peripherals suggest a slight bit of regression. Martin is also up there at 36, and his numbers aren’t quite as good, but you can dream on the 2.51 xFIP and hope the command and strikeouts remain. Effross might be the best name here, but he could also be someone Chicago decides to hang onto. He made his big-league debut last season and looks like a great relief arm. As good as the ERA is, his peripherals suggest he may even be better. Cincinnati Reds - Tyler Mahle, Luis Castillo, Brandon Drury, Tommy Pham, Kyle Farmer, Jeff Hoffman You could start with the man that slapped Joc Pederson, but Pham has no fit with the Twins. He’ll probably be moved and that story will then likely resurface again. Instead this is where the best starters come from in Mahle and Castillo. Mahle’s ERA isn’t good, but don’t let that sway anything, he’s been very solid this year. Castillo doesn’t fit the Twins typical mold as a changeup guy, but he’s as good as it gets. Both of them will command a Montas-like haul and will have virtually the same top teams vying for their services. Hoffman is a failed starter that has actually thrived in a full-time bullpen role. He doesn’t have the shine he did as a former top prospect or 9th overall pick, but the strikeout stuff is there. He does still walk too many, but he’s dropped the home run problems that plagued him previously. Arizona Diamondbacks - Christian Walker, Zac Gallen, David Peralta, Merrill Kelly, Joe Mantiply Needing an extra outfielder or a big bat could land you looking at the Diamondbacks, but the arms are also of note. Kelly and Gallen are the starters you want, though it’s Gallen’s combination of stuff and youth that make him the most appealing. These are the types of starting arms I could see as realistic consideration for Minnesota. Mantiply may wind up being my favorite reliever moved, however. He’s 31 and just finally broke through with the Diamondbacks last season. His stuff this year has been amazing, and he’s one of three pitchers at this moment yet to allow a barrel baseball. Colorado Rockies - C.J. Cron, Chad Kuhl, Daniel Bard, Connor Joe, Charlie Blackmon, Jose Iglesias Who knows what the Rockies will do given they don’t have a plan half of the time. Blackmon would seem a good bet to be moved but they also paid for Kris Bryant while allowing Jon Gray and Trevor Story to walk. Kuhl and Bard are pitchers worth prying from them. Kuhl’s xFIP is a bit scary, but his numbers have been good otherwise and he’s a guy who has flown under the radar for quite a bit. Bard has been one of the better late-inning arms this season and bounced back nicely from an ugly 2021. He’s a fantastic story that has reinvigorated his career but will be looking to close this chapter in the next couple of years. Who are some of your favorites from this list? Anyone that got missed and you’re hoping is moved?
  7. There are roughly seven weeks until the trade deadline, and plenty of names will start being tossed around in the rumor mill. Here are three players whose stock has risen recently and how they fit with the Twins. The players mentioned below are on non-contending teams, which are expected to be active at the deadline. As the August 2 trade deadline approaches, expect multiple trade targets tied to the Twins. Luis Castillo, RHP, Reds Twins fans have been calling for the Twins to trade for Luis Castillo since last winter, but he will be one of the most sought-after arms heading into the deadline. Minnesota completed the Sonny Gray trade with Cinncinatti, so the two front offices are familiar with one another. Sometimes that helps to make more significant trades come to fruition. Unlike the last trade that was a one-for-one deal, a Castillo trade will likely take multiple prospects, especially since he has one last arbitration-eligible season in 2023. Recent Hot Streak: Castillo began the year on the IL, which may have hurt his potential trade value. However, he has rounded back into form over his last five starts. In 29 1/3 innings, he has allowed eight earned runs (2.45 ERA) and averaged nearly six innings per outing. Opponents have hit .214/.279/.304 (.582) while striking out in 26.8% of their at-bats. Castillo would bolster nearly any team's playoff rotation. Willson Contreras, C, Cubs Minnesota has two capable big-league catchers on the roster, but a catching upgrade might help improve the entire line-up. Ryan Jeffers has struggled this season, and Willson Contreras would be a significant upgrade behind the plate. The Cubs traded away many of their core players last year, and Contreras is one of the last remaining pieces from their 2016 World Series run. FanGraphs has him ranked as the catcher with the highest WAR total in 2022. He is a free agent at the season's end, so plenty of teams will be in the market for the two-time All-Star. Recent Hot Streak: Contreras posted a .781 OPS through the season's first month, which isn't terrible. However, his bat started to heat up when the calendar turned to May. Over his last 33 games, he is hitting .279/.420/.550 (.970), including four doubles and eight home runs. At this point, he may be baseball's best offensive catcher. Trey Mancini, 1B, Orioles First base is an interesting position for the Twins. Luis Arraez has been getting most of the starts at the position, but the team can also add Alex Kirilloff and Miguel Sano back to the roster in the coming weeks. Trey Mancini can play first base or either corner outfield spot, but the Twins have depth at those positions. MLB.com identified him as a potential fit for the Twins, but it is hard to envision him fitting into the current line-up unless injuries became a concern. His current contract includes a $10 million mutual option for 2023 with a $250,000 buyout, so he doesn't have to serve strictly as a rental player for a team acquiring him. Recent Hot Streak: Mancini posted a .590 OPS through the season's first month, but he has recently heated up. Over his last 38 games, he is hitting .326/.424/.482 (.907) with five doubles and five home runs. FanGraphs ranks Minnesota's first base production in the bottom six of the American League. Mancini fits the prototypical first baseman role if the front office wants to address this position. Which player(s) do you feel like would be the best fit for the Twins before the trade deadline? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  8. The players mentioned below are on non-contending teams, which are expected to be active at the deadline. As the August 2 trade deadline approaches, expect multiple trade targets tied to the Twins. Luis Castillo, RHP, Reds Twins fans have been calling for the Twins to trade for Luis Castillo since last winter, but he will be one of the most sought-after arms heading into the deadline. Minnesota completed the Sonny Gray trade with Cinncinatti, so the two front offices are familiar with one another. Sometimes that helps to make more significant trades come to fruition. Unlike the last trade that was a one-for-one deal, a Castillo trade will likely take multiple prospects, especially since he has one last arbitration-eligible season in 2023. Recent Hot Streak: Castillo began the year on the IL, which may have hurt his potential trade value. However, he has rounded back into form over his last five starts. In 29 1/3 innings, he has allowed eight earned runs (2.45 ERA) and averaged nearly six innings per outing. Opponents have hit .214/.279/.304 (.582) while striking out in 26.8% of their at-bats. Castillo would bolster nearly any team's playoff rotation. Willson Contreras, C, Cubs Minnesota has two capable big-league catchers on the roster, but a catching upgrade might help improve the entire line-up. Ryan Jeffers has struggled this season, and Willson Contreras would be a significant upgrade behind the plate. The Cubs traded away many of their core players last year, and Contreras is one of the last remaining pieces from their 2016 World Series run. FanGraphs has him ranked as the catcher with the highest WAR total in 2022. He is a free agent at the season's end, so plenty of teams will be in the market for the two-time All-Star. Recent Hot Streak: Contreras posted a .781 OPS through the season's first month, which isn't terrible. However, his bat started to heat up when the calendar turned to May. Over his last 33 games, he is hitting .279/.420/.550 (.970), including four doubles and eight home runs. At this point, he may be baseball's best offensive catcher. Trey Mancini, 1B, Orioles First base is an interesting position for the Twins. Luis Arraez has been getting most of the starts at the position, but the team can also add Alex Kirilloff and Miguel Sano back to the roster in the coming weeks. Trey Mancini can play first base or either corner outfield spot, but the Twins have depth at those positions. MLB.com identified him as a potential fit for the Twins, but it is hard to envision him fitting into the current line-up unless injuries became a concern. His current contract includes a $10 million mutual option for 2023 with a $250,000 buyout, so he doesn't have to serve strictly as a rental player for a team acquiring him. Recent Hot Streak: Mancini posted a .590 OPS through the season's first month, but he has recently heated up. Over his last 38 games, he is hitting .326/.424/.482 (.907) with five doubles and five home runs. FanGraphs ranks Minnesota's first base production in the bottom six of the American League. Mancini fits the prototypical first baseman role if the front office wants to address this position. Which player(s) do you feel like would be the best fit for the Twins before the trade deadline? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  9. Minnesota's starting pitching started the year strong, but some poor performances and injury concerns have raised questions about the rotation. Do the Twins need to look into available starting pitchers on the trade market? Earlier this week, Peter Gammons checked in on starting pitchers from multiple non-contending teams, and these teams are open for business if the right offer is on the table. Some of these players will take quite the package to acquire, so let's analyze the players available for trade. RHP Luis Castillo Free Agent: Following the 2023 Season Minnesota traded for one of Cincinnati's starting pitchers this winter, but it would take more than one prospect to acquire Castillo. He is under team control through next season, but he has a small body of work in 2022. He didn't make his season debut until May 10 after dealing with shoulder soreness during spring training. Teams interested in trading for Castillo will want a good look at his medicals before dealing away multiple top prospects to acquire him. It seems more likely for him to be dealt at the deadline if he can prove he is healthy over the next three months. RHP Tyler Mahle Free Agent: Following the 2023 Season Mahle is another Reds pitcher with a chance to be dealt, but he is a name that hasn't been frequently mentioned in trade talks. Like Castillo, he is under team control through the end of next season. In 2022, Mahle has a 6.46 ERA with a 1.57 WHIP and 32 strikeouts in 30 2/3 innings. From 2020-21, he posted a 128 ERA+ while posting a 10.7 K/9. Some of his Statcast numbers point to him turning it around as his Chase Rate and Barrel% are in the 68th percentile or higher. Teams trading for Mahle are hoping to get the version of Mahle from the previous two seasons instead of the one so far in 2022. LHP David Price Free Agent: Following the 2022 Season Gammons mentioned the Dodgers are willing to trade Price so he can start for another club. He has been limited to one start and five appearances this season because he tested positive for COVID-19. Last season, Price made 39 appearances, but only 11 were in a starting role. Can a team still utilize him as a starter, or is the 36-year-old only a bullpen option? He is also making $32 million this season, but the Red Sox are on the hook for half of that total. Maybe he has something left in the tank that can help a contending team, but he hasn't made 30 starts or more since the 2018 season. RHP Frankie Montas Free Agent: Following the 2023 Season Where's Frankie? Well, he's still waiting for a team to rescue him from Oakland's pitching staff. Gammons heard the Athletics are waiting until closer to the deadline to deal Montas because they feel like it will result in a bidding war. Last season, he finished in the top-10 for the AL Cy Young, and he is off to a strong start so far in 2022. Minnesota had conversations with multiple teams this offseason about starting pitching, so the Twins and A's have likely discussed Montas. Out of the players on this list, he is performing well, which likely means it will take a decent trade package to acquire him. Do the Twins need to trade for one of these players? Which player stands out to you? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  10. Earlier this week, Peter Gammons checked in on starting pitchers from multiple non-contending teams, and these teams are open for business if the right offer is on the table. Some of these players will take quite the package to acquire, so let's analyze the players available for trade. RHP Luis Castillo Free Agent: Following the 2023 Season Minnesota traded for one of Cincinnati's starting pitchers this winter, but it would take more than one prospect to acquire Castillo. He is under team control through next season, but he has a small body of work in 2022. He didn't make his season debut until May 10 after dealing with shoulder soreness during spring training. Teams interested in trading for Castillo will want a good look at his medicals before dealing away multiple top prospects to acquire him. It seems more likely for him to be dealt at the deadline if he can prove he is healthy over the next three months. RHP Tyler Mahle Free Agent: Following the 2023 Season Mahle is another Reds pitcher with a chance to be dealt, but he is a name that hasn't been frequently mentioned in trade talks. Like Castillo, he is under team control through the end of next season. In 2022, Mahle has a 6.46 ERA with a 1.57 WHIP and 32 strikeouts in 30 2/3 innings. From 2020-21, he posted a 128 ERA+ while posting a 10.7 K/9. Some of his Statcast numbers point to him turning it around as his Chase Rate and Barrel% are in the 68th percentile or higher. Teams trading for Mahle are hoping to get the version of Mahle from the previous two seasons instead of the one so far in 2022. LHP David Price Free Agent: Following the 2022 Season Gammons mentioned the Dodgers are willing to trade Price so he can start for another club. He has been limited to one start and five appearances this season because he tested positive for COVID-19. Last season, Price made 39 appearances, but only 11 were in a starting role. Can a team still utilize him as a starter, or is the 36-year-old only a bullpen option? He is also making $32 million this season, but the Red Sox are on the hook for half of that total. Maybe he has something left in the tank that can help a contending team, but he hasn't made 30 starts or more since the 2018 season. RHP Frankie Montas Free Agent: Following the 2023 Season Where's Frankie? Well, he's still waiting for a team to rescue him from Oakland's pitching staff. Gammons heard the Athletics are waiting until closer to the deadline to deal Montas because they feel like it will result in a bidding war. Last season, he finished in the top-10 for the AL Cy Young, and he is off to a strong start so far in 2022. Minnesota had conversations with multiple teams this offseason about starting pitching, so the Twins and A's have likely discussed Montas. Out of the players on this list, he is performing well, which likely means it will take a decent trade package to acquire him. Do the Twins need to trade for one of these players? Which player stands out to you? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  11. While Major League Baseball has decided to lock out the players and freeze big-league transactions, Minnesota has continued making minor league moves. Daniel Robertson and Tim Beckham were signed recently and could be depth fits for the 26-man roster, but what if this club already has a utility player in the form of a new piranha? Back in 2014, the Minnesota Twins used their first-round pick, 5th overall, on Nick Gordon. Brother of Dee and son of Tom, Gordon had plenty of baseball running through his bloodlines. A speedy shortstop with a quick bat, he spent seven years in the minors before making his big league debut last season. Gordon isn’t the shiny top-100 prospect he once was, but it’s hard to look at his production last season and not see a future benefit. I don’t think you’ll ever be able to make a strong argument that Gordon is a starting shortstop at the Major League level. His arm strength is questionable there, and while he has speed, that caveat also limits his range. What he can do is be a swiss army knife that allowed the organization to put him where they wanted last season. What’s also interesting is that Gordon has a track record of finding more success in year two at every given level. Looking at Gordon’s Baseball-Reference page through 2019, we can see a pattern of advancement the second time through each of the upper-minors levels. His .906 OPS at Double-A Chattanooga was over 150 points higher than the year before, and that trend was repeated when he improved to the tune of 250 points at Triple-A Rochester. Following the season off due to the pandemic, in which Gordon dealt with his own health issues, he returned to post a strong .774 OPS at Triple-A St. Paul. For the Twins, Gordon slashed just .240/.292/.355 (.647). That’s not a line deserving of offensive consideration, but there’s a path forward here. Gordon needs to reign it in at the plate. A 39.5% chase rate and 25.9% CSW will not play with the rest of his peripherals. However, if he can follow down the established learning path and get closer to a 30% chase rate with a 16% CSW, the offensive production should be expected to level into the .750 OPS range. That becomes valuable for a guy who can also play a handful of infield positions and three outfield roles. Baseball has changed a lot since Ron Gardenhire employed the likes of Jason Bartlett, Nick Punto, and Luis Castillo, but Gordon could fit in as a throwback to those types. His skills are speed-focused, and he can be a menace on the bases. While bunting is an art, I’m all for staying lost, he’s a guy that can probably drop them down for hits occasionally too. If Minnesota wants something they haven’t had in recent years from a utility player, the best version of Nick Gordon could give them that. 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
  12. Back in 2014, the Minnesota Twins used their first-round pick, 5th overall, on Nick Gordon. Brother of Dee and son of Tom, Gordon had plenty of baseball running through his bloodlines. A speedy shortstop with a quick bat, he spent seven years in the minors before making his big league debut last season. Gordon isn’t the shiny top-100 prospect he once was, but it’s hard to look at his production last season and not see a future benefit. I don’t think you’ll ever be able to make a strong argument that Gordon is a starting shortstop at the Major League level. His arm strength is questionable there, and while he has speed, that caveat also limits his range. What he can do is be a swiss army knife that allowed the organization to put him where they wanted last season. What’s also interesting is that Gordon has a track record of finding more success in year two at every given level. Looking at Gordon’s Baseball-Reference page through 2019, we can see a pattern of advancement the second time through each of the upper-minors levels. His .906 OPS at Double-A Chattanooga was over 150 points higher than the year before, and that trend was repeated when he improved to the tune of 250 points at Triple-A Rochester. Following the season off due to the pandemic, in which Gordon dealt with his own health issues, he returned to post a strong .774 OPS at Triple-A St. Paul. For the Twins, Gordon slashed just .240/.292/.355 (.647). That’s not a line deserving of offensive consideration, but there’s a path forward here. Gordon needs to reign it in at the plate. A 39.5% chase rate and 25.9% CSW will not play with the rest of his peripherals. However, if he can follow down the established learning path and get closer to a 30% chase rate with a 16% CSW, the offensive production should be expected to level into the .750 OPS range. That becomes valuable for a guy who can also play a handful of infield positions and three outfield roles. Baseball has changed a lot since Ron Gardenhire employed the likes of Jason Bartlett, Nick Punto, and Luis Castillo, but Gordon could fit in as a throwback to those types. His skills are speed-focused, and he can be a menace on the bases. While bunting is an art, I’m all for staying lost, he’s a guy that can probably drop them down for hits occasionally too. If Minnesota wants something they haven’t had in recent years from a utility player, the best version of Nick Gordon could give them that. 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. One of our friends at Twins Daily, Shea McGinnity, summed it up best. The last 48 hours have likely been the most intense and exciting period of baseball free agency in the sport’s history. Twins fandom is understandably elated at Byron Buxton signing a 7-year, $100 million extension which keeps him a Twin for life. Yet, something feels like it’s missing. Oh, right, the starting pitching. The Twins don’t have much to speak of, and the starting pitching free agent market has been decimated in a pre-lockout financial feeding frenzy In the last 48 hours, Jon Gray, Kevin Gausman, Robbie Ray, and Max Scherzer have all signed hefty to record-breaking free-agent contracts. The remaining free-agent starters, using Aaron Gleeman’s Top 25 list at The Athletic, looks thin. Marcus Stroman and Carlos Rodon are the top names remaining. Clayton Kershaw isn’t signing with the Twins. Alex Wood and Alex Cobb are rumored to be signing with the Giants. That leaves Michael Pineda, Danny Duffy, Zack Grienke, Yusei Kikuchi, and Dylan Bundy. The mounting frustration for Twins fans lies in the discrepancy between the front office’s end-of-season rhetoric and their extreme lethargy in the recent free-agent frenzy. All indications from Derek Falvey suggested the Twins were ready to compete in 2022. The Twins front office exists in a challenging tension. They want to establish themselves as an organization that consistently competes through developing its own pitching. Until that labor bears fruit, fans are left to lust after free agent signings that will never come to pass. The Twins organization does not sign pitchers to hefty contracts. With that said, let’s examine some options for how they might strengthen their pitching staff via trade, starting with the Cincinnati Reds. Over the next three weeks, I’ll be profiling the three organizations the Twins should be looking to trade with for starting pitching. I’ll take into account their likely cost, performance, and future contract to rank options 1-3 for each organization. By all accounts, the Reds are open for business. They have an array of excellent MLB pitching, are undergoing organizational change (such as the departure of former pitching coordinator Kyle Boddy) and a good farm system that could use the addition of close to MLB ready bats. Sonny Gray Sonny Gray should be one of the Twins’ primary trade targets currently. In the midst of a 3-year, $32 million contract which runs through 2023, Gray has been worth, on average 2.5 fWAR over his last five seasons. Gray has maintained excellent peripherals and a strong K% throughout his late twenties and early thirties. He fits the profile of a starting pitcher, who the Twins wouldn’t have to give up multiple of their best prospects for, who could start a playoff game for Minnesota. Potential trade: Twins trade RHP Jordan Balazovic and C Ryan Jeffers to the Reds for RHP Sonny Gray. Tyler Mahle Tyler Mahle is best known to Twins fans as the pitcher who broke Byron Buxton’s hand this season but had a quiet breakout year for the Reds. Mahle profiles more similarly to Gray, both in stuff and cost, but has age on his side at just 27. Mahle sported a 27.7% K% in 2021 to go along with a 3.80 FIP, and 3.84 fWAR. Mahle, like Luis Castillo, is not a free agent until 2024. Potential Trade: Twins trade INF Luis Arraez and RHP Matt Canterino to the Reds for RHP Tyler Mahle. Luis Castillo Luis Castillo is by far the best of the three Reds options and by far the most expensive, which is why I am ranking him last. Castillo has excellent velocity (97 mph fastball), a devastating changeup, and doesn’t hit free agency until 2024. The asking price on Castillo has been reported to be incredibly high, which it should be for a starting pitcher you would feel confident in leading a good number of MLB rotations. It seems unlikely the Twins would trade for Castillo given the cost. Potential trade: The Twins trade SS Royce Lewis and OF Max Kepler to the Reds for RHP Luis Castillo. Do you agree with my ranking? What would you offer in a trade with Cincinnati? Which of their starting pitchers appeals to you the most?
  14. As we all know, the Minnesota Twins need pitching, and need some high-end pitching. Free agency is not the only way to acquire players. The Twins may have to investigate trade possibilities, and the Cincinnati Reds are a team looking to make deals and have a true, young ace. Jon Morosi reported Monday that Reds starter Luis Castillo could be on the move this offseason. His availability presents a prime opportunity for the Twins. THE PLAYER Luis Castillo, 28, is precisely the type of pitcher the Twins should be seeking. An established, hard-throwing right-hander who’s under team control through 2023 at modest salaries. Castillo is already an excellent, durable starter. He’s thrown 618 innings since 2018, the 10th most in MLB. His ERA+ of 123 since 2017 (100 is average) ties him with Marcus Stroman for the 11th highest. Castillo is elite at limiting home runs and missing barrels. Castillo’s 10.7 Wins Above Replacement since 2019 trails only Lance Lynn (15), Jacob deGrom (14.9), Gerrit Cole (14.4), Zack Wheeler (14.4), Max Scherzer (13.6), and Lucas Giolito (11). Most excitingly, Castillo’s stuff - a 97 mph fastball, a devastating 88 mph changeup, and a fantastic 86 mph slider - provide dreamable upside. Over his final 20 starts of 2021, Castillo posted a 2.69 ERA. He's a Cy Young candidate in 2022. THE COST Oh boy. A ton. For all of the reasons listed above, plenty of teams will vie for Castillo. He’s projected to make $7.6 million in 2022 and, with a strong season, could get $10 or $11 million in 2023. Call it two years and $18 million. That’s an incredible bargain. The Reds have signaled that they’re ready to slash payroll this offseason. Castillo and fellow starter Sonny Gray would likely be the most sought-after in an overhaul. Castillo’s upside, though, makes him the one to target. MLB Trade Simulators is an imperfect tool but can give us a sniff of player values. Castillo’s is predictably hefty. According to the simulator, the Twins would need to part with Austin Martin, Royce Lewis, and Matt Canterino (or a package of similar value). The Twins have no track record of paying such a price. But with three gaping holes in the rotation and an embarrassing summer to overcome, do they have the right to be conservative this winter? THE BOTTOM LINE The Twins must address at least one rotation hole via the trade market. It’s simply untenable to sign three quality starters via free agency. The Twins don’t have the payroll or the leverage. We’ve heard many excuses of why free-agent starters don’t choose Minnesota. The weather, the income tax, the contract offer, and so on. The Twins can rarely secure a player of Castillo’s ilk and upside. They can finally make a splash and a statement. By trading for Castillo, the Twins would signal that they are serious about 2022 and 2023. The move would alert free agents - Marcus Stroman, Robbie Ray, and others - that you’re committed to improving and winning. The Twins indeed had opportunities to make impactful moves in recent years. Those chances are gone. What matters now is how aggressive they are in living up to the notion that a “rebuild” is not in the cards. If you’re going to do it, do it. 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
  15. Jon Morosi reported Monday that Reds starter Luis Castillo could be on the move this offseason. His availability presents a prime opportunity for the Twins. THE PLAYER Luis Castillo, 28, is precisely the type of pitcher the Twins should be seeking. An established, hard-throwing right-hander who’s under team control through 2023 at modest salaries. Castillo is already an excellent, durable starter. He’s thrown 618 innings since 2018, the 10th most in MLB. His ERA+ of 123 since 2017 (100 is average) ties him with Marcus Stroman for the 11th highest. Castillo is elite at limiting home runs and missing barrels. Castillo’s 10.7 Wins Above Replacement since 2019 trails only Lance Lynn (15), Jacob deGrom (14.9), Gerrit Cole (14.4), Zack Wheeler (14.4), Max Scherzer (13.6), and Lucas Giolito (11). Most excitingly, Castillo’s stuff - a 97 mph fastball, a devastating 88 mph changeup, and a fantastic 86 mph slider - provide dreamable upside. Over his final 20 starts of 2021, Castillo posted a 2.69 ERA. He's a Cy Young candidate in 2022. THE COST Oh boy. A ton. For all of the reasons listed above, plenty of teams will vie for Castillo. He’s projected to make $7.6 million in 2022 and, with a strong season, could get $10 or $11 million in 2023. Call it two years and $18 million. That’s an incredible bargain. The Reds have signaled that they’re ready to slash payroll this offseason. Castillo and fellow starter Sonny Gray would likely be the most sought-after in an overhaul. Castillo’s upside, though, makes him the one to target. MLB Trade Simulators is an imperfect tool but can give us a sniff of player values. Castillo’s is predictably hefty. According to the simulator, the Twins would need to part with Austin Martin, Royce Lewis, and Matt Canterino (or a package of similar value). The Twins have no track record of paying such a price. But with three gaping holes in the rotation and an embarrassing summer to overcome, do they have the right to be conservative this winter? THE BOTTOM LINE The Twins must address at least one rotation hole via the trade market. It’s simply untenable to sign three quality starters via free agency. The Twins don’t have the payroll or the leverage. We’ve heard many excuses of why free-agent starters don’t choose Minnesota. The weather, the income tax, the contract offer, and so on. The Twins can rarely secure a player of Castillo’s ilk and upside. They can finally make a splash and a statement. By trading for Castillo, the Twins would signal that they are serious about 2022 and 2023. The move would alert free agents - Marcus Stroman, Robbie Ray, and others - that you’re committed to improving and winning. The Twins indeed had opportunities to make impactful moves in recent years. Those chances are gone. What matters now is how aggressive they are in living up to the notion that a “rebuild” is not in the cards. If you’re going to do it, do it. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email
  16. As I write this, I’m two weeks away from turning 23 years old, which means I was seven when the 2006 Minnesota Twins won the American League Central. It also means I have no meaningful memory of a Twins playoff win, but whatever. I digress. The 2006 season was the first in which I really followed the sport on more than just a watch-guys-hit-ball level. It was that year that I figured out how the standings worked, what a wild card was, and how to calculate basic stats like batting average and ERA. So, of course, the Twins’ magical comeback from 10.5 games back in the second week of August to Division Champs on the last day of the season—their only division lead all year—made me fall in love with the team and the sport. But, the funny thing about falling in love with a team at seven years old is that the way I remember that team is very far from the reality of what actually happened. Obviously, I remember Mauer, Morneau, and Santana being awesome, and, looking back, that memory is absolutely correct; they were awesome. But things get a little more skewed as we move down the rest of the roster. As mentioned in the teaser, I remember thinking that Boof Bonser was some unique diamond in the rough that had a funny name but dominated on the mound. Turns out the opposite is true: he was a highly-touted first round pick that was always young for his level in the minors, but was never great in the bigs. His career lasted only four years and 2006, his rookie and best season, wasn’t even that great. In my mind, Luis Castillo (not the Reds starter, the other one) was THE Twins’ second basemen of the mid-aughts, and that he was one of the better hitters on the team. That just wasn’t true—he finished only seventh on the team in batting average (his main calling card) and Terry freaking Tiffee had a higher slugging percentage than him. Also, the 2006 season was his only full year in a Twins uniform, as he was traded to the Mets at the deadline in 2007. To this day, when I hear the word piranha, I think about Jason Tyner. Ozzie Guillen coined the term “Little Piranhas” to describe Castillo, Tyner, Jason Bartlett, and Nick Punto, but, for whatever reason, Tyner sticks in my head as the most piranha-like. And that’s weird, because according to WAR, he was the least productive of them all, probably because he only appeared in 62 games. And, as sacrilegious as it is to measure the Piranhas using WAR, it does show that he wasn’t nearly as big of a factor as I remember. I didn’t only remember guys for being better than they actually were, though. There were two guys in particular whose output was more significant than I remembered. I remember Nick Punto as a funny, light-hitting, loveable-loser kind of player, and I guess he was that in some sense, but he was a lot more. First, I was shocked to look back and see that he batted .290, and I was even more shocked to find out that he was fifth on the team in WAR, ahead of guys like Michael Cuddyer, Torii Hunter, and Brad Radke. And he did so with one (1) homer. I guess that’s what 135 games of solid third base defense and not terrible hitting get you, but the idea of Punto being legitimately good (if only for a year) is still wild to me. Francisco Liriano will forever stick in my memory as the guy who gets arm surgeries and can’t throw strikes, but he was actually dominant in 2006. He only pitched twice after July and would get Tommy John the following winter, but he made the All Star team as a rookie and pitched to an ERA of 2.16, a WHIP of exactly one, and a K/9 rate of 10.7. His WAR was also third on the team, beating out AL MVP and 130 RBI man Justin Morneau. I also remember Kyle Lohse being an idiot, but I don’t think I’m wrong about that. There’s one more thing I misremember, though. I have very little recollection of the Twins getting swept in the playoffs. I’m sure I watched the games, but they just didn’t stick, though I think I remember my guy Boof starting one of them. That’s okay, though; I will always associate the 2006 Twins with good memories, even if those memories are completely wrong and I have no idea what actually happened. How do you remember the 2006 Twins? What's the first Twins season you remember? Let us know in the comments!
  17. There is almost exactly nothing happening in baseball right now, so it’s a good time for some nostalgia. Follow me on a trip down memory lane to 2006 and the team that made me a baseball fan (and made me think Boof Bonser was good). As I write this, I’m two weeks away from turning 23 years old, which means I was seven when the 2006 Minnesota Twins won the American League Central. It also means I have no meaningful memory of a Twins playoff win, but whatever. I digress. The 2006 season was the first in which I really followed the sport on more than just a watch-guys-hit-ball level. It was that year that I figured out how the standings worked, what a wild card was, and how to calculate basic stats like batting average and ERA. So, of course, the Twins’ magical comeback from 10.5 games back in the second week of August to Division Champs on the last day of the season—their only division lead all year—made me fall in love with the team and the sport. But, the funny thing about falling in love with a team at seven years old is that the way I remember that team is very far from the reality of what actually happened. Obviously, I remember Mauer, Morneau, and Santana being awesome, and, looking back, that memory is absolutely correct; they were awesome. But things get a little more skewed as we move down the rest of the roster. As mentioned in the teaser, I remember thinking that Boof Bonser was some unique diamond in the rough that had a funny name but dominated on the mound. Turns out the opposite is true: he was a highly-touted first round pick that was always young for his level in the minors, but was never great in the bigs. His career lasted only four years and 2006, his rookie and best season, wasn’t even that great. In my mind, Luis Castillo (not the Reds starter, the other one) was THE Twins’ second basemen of the mid-aughts, and that he was one of the better hitters on the team. That just wasn’t true—he finished only seventh on the team in batting average (his main calling card) and Terry freaking Tiffee had a higher slugging percentage than him. Also, the 2006 season was his only full year in a Twins uniform, as he was traded to the Mets at the deadline in 2007. To this day, when I hear the word piranha, I think about Jason Tyner. Ozzie Guillen coined the term “Little Piranhas” to describe Castillo, Tyner, Jason Bartlett, and Nick Punto, but, for whatever reason, Tyner sticks in my head as the most piranha-like. And that’s weird, because according to WAR, he was the least productive of them all, probably because he only appeared in 62 games. And, as sacrilegious as it is to measure the Piranhas using WAR, it does show that he wasn’t nearly as big of a factor as I remember. I didn’t only remember guys for being better than they actually were, though. There were two guys in particular whose output was more significant than I remembered. I remember Nick Punto as a funny, light-hitting, loveable-loser kind of player, and I guess he was that in some sense, but he was a lot more. First, I was shocked to look back and see that he batted .290, and I was even more shocked to find out that he was fifth on the team in WAR, ahead of guys like Michael Cuddyer, Torii Hunter, and Brad Radke. And he did so with one (1) homer. I guess that’s what 135 games of solid third base defense and not terrible hitting get you, but the idea of Punto being legitimately good (if only for a year) is still wild to me. Francisco Liriano will forever stick in my memory as the guy who gets arm surgeries and can’t throw strikes, but he was actually dominant in 2006. He only pitched twice after July and would get Tommy John the following winter, but he made the All Star team as a rookie and pitched to an ERA of 2.16, a WHIP of exactly one, and a K/9 rate of 10.7. His WAR was also third on the team, beating out AL MVP and 130 RBI man Justin Morneau. I also remember Kyle Lohse being an idiot, but I don’t think I’m wrong about that. There’s one more thing I misremember, though. I have very little recollection of the Twins getting swept in the playoffs. I’m sure I watched the games, but they just didn’t stick, though I think I remember my guy Boof starting one of them. That’s okay, though; I will always associate the 2006 Twins with good memories, even if those memories are completely wrong and I have no idea what actually happened. How do you remember the 2006 Twins? What's the first Twins season you remember? Let us know in the comments! View full article
  18. Update: It appears that the Padres will be also landing Yu Darvish from the Cubs. While that takes a target away from the Twins, they have less competition on the Reds front. Arms like Joe Musgrove and Jon Gray also remain enticing. Late on Sunday night the market for starting pitching pursuits took a drastic change. After the Tampa Bay Rays had announced they’d make Blake Snell available, the San Diego Padres decided to cap off their Christmas weekend with a blockbuster trade. This provides a blueprint for the Minnesota Twins, and also removes some potential competition. Thus far during the offseason things have been quit from the Derek Falvey and Thad Levine camp. Minnesota has made a few smaller moves on the reliever front, but they have not addressed their rotation or lineup. For what seems like weeks we’ve now heard about the Twins being a team potential waiting in the weeds and ready to strike. One big name discussed has been that of Marcus Semien, but it remains true that starting pitching is a must. You can probably bet on veteran Rich Hill not being a guy brought back for 2021, and while Jake Odorizzi looks like one of the best arms not named Trevor Bauer, he will have some options. For Minnesota, sustainability could be the key and finding a trade partner with an arm having some team control could be as enticing as anything. Although it’s not known to what extent Minnesota may have been intrigued by Snell, the reality is he’s a good pitcher and was available. At the very least that made the two organizations a match. Following that logic, the Cubs and Yu Darvish as well as the Reds and their arms Luis Castillo or Sonny Gray could all be fits. Darvish comes with the hefty price tag, while both Gray and Castillo are more affordable options that should command a premium in prospect capital. It’s fine to still call this relatively early in the offseason, but the reality is that we’re over the halfway point. Despite the fact that Rob Manfred still hasn’t solidified the 2021 Major League Baseball schedule and we still have no idea what the exact set of rules are going to be, time is not waiting, and Spring Training will soon be around the corner. Minnesota’s front office hasn’t been afraid of being a last-minute suitor, but getting guys acclimate could hold some weight given how the Lance Lynn and Logan Morrison moves ultimately worked out. When the Padres decided to spring for Snell with a package centered around their second-best pitching prospect, they effectively took themselves out of any discussion regarding another deal. The money is still there for them to target Trevor Bauer, but they don’t seem likely to move Mackenzie Gore or C.J. Abrams, so swapping for another top arm would be difficult. This benefits the Twins as it’s one less club vying for the same prizes. Given the organization he played for it was probably a near-guarantee that Snell would be moved. I think Chicago still flips Darvish, but Jed Hoyer will want to get his first big move right. Castillo and Gray don’t necessarily need to be shipped out, but Cincinnati appears intent on tearing it down after a one-year run at going for it. Asking Minnesota to be engaged on all of those fronts is hardly a leap. It’s not yet clear where the Twins will turn, but I’d bet a decent amount that they have plenty of irons in the fire, and it’s clear there’s a decent amount of smoke. Having a better bargaining position than they did yesterday, and also a representative idea of a framework, Falvey and Levine have more clarity now than they may have a few days ago. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  19. Sonny Gray Contract: 2-years, $20.33 million ($12 million team option for 2023) Gray has revamped himself since joining the Reds rotation. Over the last two seasons, he has a 3.07 ERA with a 1.12 WHIP and 277 strikeouts in 231 1/3 innings. He might be the best starting pitcher available on the trade market this winter and the asking price will likely be high based on his recent performance and his years of team control. Gray would help bolster the top of Minnesota’s rotation that already includes the trio of Kenta Maeda, Jose Berrios, and Michael Pineda. Gray would help the team in the short-term, but the asking price might be higher than the front office wants to pay. Luis Castillo Contract: First-year arbitration eligible (Earliest Free Agency 2024) While Gray can help the Reds to cut cost, Castillo is still relatively cheap since he is entering his first year of arbitration. A team looking to acquire Castillo might also have to be willing to take on a veteran with a higher salary to help the Reds cut costs (see below). Since the start of the 2019 season, the 28-year-old has posted a 3.35 ERA and a 3.42 FIP in 260 2/3 innings. He has an electric fastball that sits in the upper-90s and his slider is improving. It seems like someone Wes Johnson would love to help take to the next level. https://twitter.com/JonHeyman/status/1340696149972365326?s=20 Nick Castellanos Contract: 3-years, $46 million ($20 million mutual option for 2024) Twins fans are likely familiar with Castellanos from his time in a Tigers uniform and his contract might be one that a team will have to acquire to have a chance at Castillo. Castellanos can fit multiple roles with the Twins including corner outfielder or designated hitter. Over the last two seasons, he has hit .273/.327/.515 with 41 home runs and 69 doubles in 211 games. Making a deal that includes Castellanos likely puts the Twins out of the running for Nelson Cruz, but it can mean the club acquires a big-time arm like Castillo. Amir Garrett Contract: First-year arbitration eligible (Earliest Free Agency 2024) Garrett is one of the players that will have a chance to take over the closer’s role in Cincinnati following the departure of Iglesias. Like Castillo, he is in his first year of arbitration so there won’t be urgency to trade him unless a perspective team is willing to take on other salary. Since the start of 2019, he has a 3.03 ERA and a 4.19 FIP while racking up 104 strikeouts in 74 1/3 innings. Minnesota has multiple holes to fill in their bullpen, so would the team be willing to overspend to get a very good left-handed arm. Lucas Sims Contract: Pre-arbitration eligible (Earliest Free Agency 2025) Sims was a first-round pick in 2012 out of high school and he joined the Reds organization back in 2018 in a deadline deal with the Braves. He hasn’t even reached arbitration yet and so the cost to acquire him will be steep. Over the last two seasons, he strikes out nearly 12 batters per nine innings with a 1.08 WHIP and a 125 ERA+. Cincinnati can put him in the closer’s role for a couple seasons and get a higher return for him after he has the “proven closer” label applied to him. Which players would you like the Twins to target? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
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