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  1. The ongoing joke about the Twins is how often they’re rumored to be in on a player but don’t wind up with them. This winter they have a chance to make good on their past links with three such pitchers. Corey Kluber Kluber was heavily linked to the Twins last winter before the Yankees threw $11m at the right hander. Kluber pitched quite well in his first year in the Bronx with a sub 4.00 ERA. Unfortunately after throwing just one inning in 2020, Kluber missed significant time and only reached 80 frames. Kluber is likely a candidate for another one year deal at age 36. He still looked like a valuable pitcher in a tough stadium and division, and a move back to the soft AL Central would do him wonders. He may not be counted on for a significant amount of innings, but pairing him with a pitcher like Michael Pineda would be valuable. There’s upside to be had similar to the Twins 2020 Rich Hill signing, upside the Twins will surely be looking for in order for a bounce back in their pitching staff. Marcus Stroman The Twins were bullish on Stroman in 2019 when the Blue Jays eventually shipped him to the Mets. The Twins claimed Toronto never returned their call for a counter offer. Stroman wasn’t much help in 2020 but performed exceptionally well in 2021 with a 3.02 ERA in almost 180 innings. Stroman would definitely require a long term deal with some good money attached. He may not be a flat out ace, but he’s a durable, experienced arm. His reliance on movement, location, and weak contact should make him a valuable pitcher for the foreseeable future now that he’s surpassed 30 years of age. He’d also immediately slot in as an Opening Day starter and top of the rotation anchor. Noah Syndergaard Digging way into the well here, remember when the Twins were in on Noah Syndergaard in 2019 and the Mets wanted Byron Buxton in exchange? I’m sure no fans were angry at the Twins for not pulling the trigger, right? Syndergaard has a storied past when it comes to injury, most recently returning from Tommy John just this year. The result of this being there isn’t much of a body of work to see since 2019. It’s hard to forget the arm they call “Thor” throwing one 100 mph fastball after another. While never quite an ace, it’s hard to deny that the upside is there. With Syndergaard's recent history, he’s another candidate for a one year “show me” deal. It may be high risk, but there may not be a pitcher on the market with a higher potential payoff. The Twins will be looking high and low on both the free agent and trade market this winter to try to fix a pitching staff that straight up cost them any shot at contending in 2021. It wouldn’t be the most surprising development to go back to the well and revisit some arms they were previously interested in. Is there any one of this trio that stands above the rest? Should these three be avoided altogether? Let us know below! — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here View full article
  2. Corey Kluber Kluber was heavily linked to the Twins last winter before the Yankees threw $11m at the right hander. Kluber pitched quite well in his first year in the Bronx with a sub 4.00 ERA. Unfortunately after throwing just one inning in 2020, Kluber missed significant time and only reached 80 frames. Kluber is likely a candidate for another one year deal at age 36. He still looked like a valuable pitcher in a tough stadium and division, and a move back to the soft AL Central would do him wonders. He may not be counted on for a significant amount of innings, but pairing him with a pitcher like Michael Pineda would be valuable. There’s upside to be had similar to the Twins 2020 Rich Hill signing, upside the Twins will surely be looking for in order for a bounce back in their pitching staff. Marcus Stroman The Twins were bullish on Stroman in 2019 when the Blue Jays eventually shipped him to the Mets. The Twins claimed Toronto never returned their call for a counter offer. Stroman wasn’t much help in 2020 but performed exceptionally well in 2021 with a 3.02 ERA in almost 180 innings. Stroman would definitely require a long term deal with some good money attached. He may not be a flat out ace, but he’s a durable, experienced arm. His reliance on movement, location, and weak contact should make him a valuable pitcher for the foreseeable future now that he’s surpassed 30 years of age. He’d also immediately slot in as an Opening Day starter and top of the rotation anchor. Noah Syndergaard Digging way into the well here, remember when the Twins were in on Noah Syndergaard in 2019 and the Mets wanted Byron Buxton in exchange? I’m sure no fans were angry at the Twins for not pulling the trigger, right? Syndergaard has a storied past when it comes to injury, most recently returning from Tommy John just this year. The result of this being there isn’t much of a body of work to see since 2019. It’s hard to forget the arm they call “Thor” throwing one 100 mph fastball after another. While never quite an ace, it’s hard to deny that the upside is there. With Syndergaard's recent history, he’s another candidate for a one year “show me” deal. It may be high risk, but there may not be a pitcher on the market with a higher potential payoff. The Twins will be looking high and low on both the free agent and trade market this winter to try to fix a pitching staff that straight up cost them any shot at contending in 2021. It wouldn’t be the most surprising development to go back to the well and revisit some arms they were previously interested in. Is there any one of this trio that stands above the rest? Should these three be avoided altogether? Let us know below! — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here
  3. Hiring Tony La Russa When the White Sox hired Tony La Russa, it was a bit of a shock. He hasn’t managed since 2011 with the Cardinals and his tenure with that club didn’t exactly end on the highest note. He’s been elected to MLB’s Hall of Fame and there is no question that he has changed the game with managerial style. He approached relief pitching in a different way and he helped to lead multiple franchises to a World Series. That can’t be said for many mangers. Based on many reports, it sounds like the front office for the White Sox had little interest in La Russa becoming the White Sox manager. This was a decision driven by the ownership group. The White Sox have a diverse, young core on their roster and baseball has greatly changed since the last time he was a manager. Former Astros manager AJ Hinch seed like a better option, but the White Sox never offered him an interview after learning the ownership group was offering the position to La Russa. DUI Arrest Since La Russa was hired, ESPN has reported that he was arrested for a DUI shortly before he was hired. This is his second arrest for this offense and the recent details are grim. He told officers, “Do you see my ring? I’m a Hall of Famer baseball person. I’m legit. I’m a Hall of Famer, brother.” It was his second known drunken driving arrest after falling asleep at the wheel during spring training in 2007. At the time he said, “It was an embarrassment, so I apologize to anyone who is close to me, members of the Cardinals organization, our fans, I regret it, take responsibility and I’m not sure there is anything else I can say.” Free Agent Ramifications Their manager has made raciest comments in the past, he has struggled with alcohol issues, and he hasn’t managed in nearly a decade. Stroman’s reaction might be indicative to a larger reaction from the free agent pool this season. Regularly, free agents might be willing to sign with an upstart White Sox team, buy the current organization doesn’t meet their core values. https://twitter.com/Ken_Rosenthal/status/1326209173659463681?s=20 For the overall good of baseball, this might be a dark cloud. For teams in the AL Central, this might be an opening that allows the Twins to contend for multiple seasons while keeping other teams out of contention. How do you feel about the White Sox’s recent issues? Leave a comment and start the discussion MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  4. Free Agent Starting Pitchers at a Glance The Need: The Twins have Kenta Maeda, Jose Berrios and Michael Pineda at the top of their 2021 rotation board. Randy Dobnak had one of the best ERAs in baseball through the first five or six weeks of the season. While the likes of Lewis Thorpe and Devin Smeltzer are options for the team’s fifth starter job, and the Twins have some very intriguing, exciting prospects getting closer, there would appear to be a need for one, and maybe two, starting pitchers this offseason. The Market (This list is not comprehensive): Trevor Bauer Masahiro Tanaka Marcus Stroman James Paxton Jake Odorizzi Jose Quintana Robbie Ray Kevin Gausman Mike Minor Alex Wood Julio Teheran Tyler Chatwood Garrett Richards Rick Porcello Rich Hill Mike Fiers Jeff Samardzija Drew Smyly Brett Anderson Taijuan Walker Michael Wacha Brad Peacock Our Targets: Mike Minor Age: 32 Former Team: Oakland 2020 Stats: 56.2 IP, 5.56 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 9.8 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Coming off of an All Star 2019 campaign with the Rangers, Minor struggled to a 1-6 record despite a career high in strikeout rate. The former first-round pick from Vanderbilt features four pitches. He saw his velocity dip a bit in 2020. Estimated 2021 Salary: $10 million Marcus Stroman Age: 29 Former Team: NY Mets 2019 Stats: 184.1 IP, 3.22 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 7.8 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 (opted out in 2020) Why He’s a Fit: Stroman stayed on the Mets roster (Injured List) just long enough so that he could opt out and still become a free agent. The former top pick from Duke debuted in 2014 has consistently put up solid numbers and, when healthy, he eats innings. His 7.8 K/9 in 2019 was easily the best of his career, but he gets good fastball movement and gets a lot of ground balls. Estimated 2021 Salary: $13 million Trevor Bauer Age: 29 Former Team: Cincinnati 2020 Stats: 73.0 IP, 1.73 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 12.3 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Because he is one of the Top 3-4 pitchers in baseball. Bauer should be the NL Cy Young winner for 2020 when he put up the remarkable stats for the Reds. He will still be just 30 years old in 2021. There is the perceived Derek Falvey connection as well. Basically, how would a rotation of Bauer-Maeda-Berrios-Pineda-Dobnak look? That said, could the Twins do anything else this offseason if they signed Bauer? Estimated 2021 Salary: $30 million Drew Smyly Age: 31 Former Team: San Francisco 2020 Stats: 26.1 IP, 3.42 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 14.4 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Smyly came up as a top prospect of the Tigers, got traded and then the injuries came. He missed the entire 2017 and 2018 seasons. He returned in 2019 with a 6.24 ERA over 114 innings, though he struck out 120 batters. He pitch adjust 26 1/3 innings in 2020, but he had an incredible 42 strikeouts. His fastball velocity was up nearly three mph compared to the rest of his career. Estimated 2021 Salary: $4 million Kevin Gausman Age: 29 Former Team: San Francisco 2020 Stats: 59.2 IP, 3.62 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 11.9 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Gausman was a top pitching prospect from LSU when he was the 4th overall pick in the 2012 draft. He spent years in Baltimore unable to take his talent to a next level. In his time with the O’s, he topped out at 8.7 K/9, a solid number. The last two years, that number has increased to 10.0 K/9 in 2019 and 11.9 K/9 in 2020. He’s always had good control and he still throws 95 mph with the fastball and throws four pitches. Estimated 2021 Salary: $10 million Robbie Ray Age: 29 Former Team: Toronto 2020 Stats: 51.2 IP, 6.62 ERA, 1.90 WHIP, 11.8 K/9, 7.8 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Ray had a rough 2020 season posting an ERA and a WHIP well worse than anything previously in his career. However, his K/9 rates since 2016 are 11.3, 12.1, 12.0, 12.1, and it was still 11.9 in 2020. Ray threw 93.7 mph fastballs, consistent with his entire career. He threw 31% sliders and 16% curveballs, so I am quite intrigued by what Wes Johnson and the Twins pitching gurus might be able to do with him. Estimated 2021 Salary: $10 million Brett Anderson Age: 32 Former Team: Milwaukee 2020 Stats: 47.0 IP, 4.21 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 6.1 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Anderson has always been an intriguing pitcher going way back, but he just was unable to stay healthy most years. In 2019, he made 31 starts. It was just the third season in which he had more than 19 starts since his debut season in 2009. And in 2020, he made ten starts. It sure sees he’s been around forever, but he’ll spend the entire 2021 season at age 33. He rarely hits 90 mph (though that’s not new) and his 6.1 K/9 was higher than all but one of his previous six seasons. Estimated 2021 Salary: $4 million Tyler Chatwood Age: 30 Former Team: Chicago Cubs 2020 Stats: 18.2 IP, 5.30 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, 12.1 K/9, 4.3 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: It’s fair to say that things didn’t go as he’d hoped when he signed a big, three-year contract with the Cubs. That first season, he walked way too many. The next season, he worked out of the bullpen. In 2020, he made just five starts before experiencing a forearm/elbow injury. So, why is he a fit? I mean, those strikeouts were nice. Estimated 2021 Salary: $6 million Mike Fiers Age: 35 Former Team: Oakland 2020 Stats: 59.0 IP, 4.58 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 5.6 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Veteran of 10 big league seasons has gone 21-7 over the past two seasons, though his numbers in 2020 with the A’s were not great. He throws strikes, and he is a veteran. He could be a Homer Bailey type signing for veteran leadership, but will his “tattling” on his former Astros teammates hurt him in the industry now that he is a free agent? Could that bring down his asking price, and if so, he’s not a bad #5 starter for any team. Estimated 2021 Salary: $5 million Let us know in the comments who you like at these positions, or if you'd rather stick with Rosario and Cruz. In the meantime, check out previous episodes of Offseason Live and see what's upcoming: Ep 1: (Thurs, 10/8) Ep 2: (Tues, 10/13) Ep 3: (Thurs, 10/15) Ep 4: (Tues, 10/20) Ep 5: (Thurs, 10/22) Ep 6: (Tues, 10/27) Ep 7: Free Agency – Starting Pitchers (Thurs, 10/29) Ep 8: Free Agency – Relief Pitchers (Thurs, 11/5) Ep 9: Twins Trade Targets (Tues, 11/10) Ep 10: Offseason Blueprints (Thurs, 11/12) https://twitter.com/twinsdaily/status/1321980422570483712 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. At spring training, we were all excited about the Bomba Squad with Josh Donaldson. How many runs would the offense score? Instead, to all of our surprise, the Twins success in 2020 largely came as a result of very good pitching. The team has a Big Three going into the offseason, but how might they replace Jake Odorizzi and Rich Hill in their starting rotation? Free Agent Starting Pitchers at a Glance The Need: The Twins have Kenta Maeda, Jose Berrios and Michael Pineda at the top of their 2021 rotation board. Randy Dobnak had one of the best ERAs in baseball through the first five or six weeks of the season. While the likes of Lewis Thorpe and Devin Smeltzer are options for the team’s fifth starter job, and the Twins have some very intriguing, exciting prospects getting closer, there would appear to be a need for one, and maybe two, starting pitchers this offseason. The Market (This list is not comprehensive): Trevor BauerMasahiro TanakaMarcus StromanJames PaxtonJake OdorizziJose QuintanaRobbie RayKevin GausmanMike MinorAlex WoodJulio TeheranTyler ChatwoodGarrett RichardsRick PorcelloRich HillMike FiersJeff SamardzijaDrew SmylyBrett AndersonTaijuan WalkerMichael WachaBrad Peacock Our Targets: Mike Minor Age: 32 Former Team: Oakland 2020 Stats: 56.2 IP, 5.56 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 9.8 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Coming off of an All Star 2019 campaign with the Rangers, Minor struggled to a 1-6 record despite a career high in strikeout rate. The former first-round pick from Vanderbilt features four pitches. He saw his velocity dip a bit in 2020. Estimated 2021 Salary: $10 million Marcus Stroman Age: 29 Former Team: NY Mets 2019 Stats: 184.1 IP, 3.22 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 7.8 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 (opted out in 2020) Why He’s a Fit: Stroman stayed on the Mets roster (Injured List) just long enough so that he could opt out and still become a free agent. The former top pick from Duke debuted in 2014 has consistently put up solid numbers and, when healthy, he eats innings. His 7.8 K/9 in 2019 was easily the best of his career, but he gets good fastball movement and gets a lot of ground balls. Estimated 2021 Salary: $13 million Trevor Bauer Age: 29 Former Team: Cincinnati 2020 Stats: 73.0 IP, 1.73 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 12.3 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Because he is one of the Top 3-4 pitchers in baseball. Bauer should be the NL Cy Young winner for 2020 when he put up the remarkable stats for the Reds. He will still be just 30 years old in 2021. There is the perceived Derek Falvey connection as well. Basically, how would a rotation of Bauer-Maeda-Berrios-Pineda-Dobnak look? That said, could the Twins do anything else this offseason if they signed Bauer? Estimated 2021 Salary: $30 million Drew Smyly Age: 31 Former Team: San Francisco 2020 Stats: 26.1 IP, 3.42 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 14.4 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Smyly came up as a top prospect of the Tigers, got traded and then the injuries came. He missed the entire 2017 and 2018 seasons. He returned in 2019 with a 6.24 ERA over 114 innings, though he struck out 120 batters. He pitch adjust 26 1/3 innings in 2020, but he had an incredible 42 strikeouts. His fastball velocity was up nearly three mph compared to the rest of his career. Estimated 2021 Salary: $4 million Kevin Gausman Age: 29 Former Team: San Francisco 2020 Stats: 59.2 IP, 3.62 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 11.9 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Gausman was a top pitching prospect from LSU when he was the 4th overall pick in the 2012 draft. He spent years in Baltimore unable to take his talent to a next level. In his time with the O’s, he topped out at 8.7 K/9, a solid number. The last two years, that number has increased to 10.0 K/9 in 2019 and 11.9 K/9 in 2020. He’s always had good control and he still throws 95 mph with the fastball and throws four pitches. Estimated 2021 Salary: $10 million Robbie Ray Age: 29 Former Team: Toronto 2020 Stats: 51.2 IP, 6.62 ERA, 1.90 WHIP, 11.8 K/9, 7.8 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Ray had a rough 2020 season posting an ERA and a WHIP well worse than anything previously in his career. However, his K/9 rates since 2016 are 11.3, 12.1, 12.0, 12.1, and it was still 11.9 in 2020. Ray threw 93.7 mph fastballs, consistent with his entire career. He threw 31% sliders and 16% curveballs, so I am quite intrigued by what Wes Johnson and the Twins pitching gurus might be able to do with him. Estimated 2021 Salary: $10 million Brett Anderson Age: 32 Former Team: Milwaukee 2020 Stats: 47.0 IP, 4.21 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 6.1 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Anderson has always been an intriguing pitcher going way back, but he just was unable to stay healthy most years. In 2019, he made 31 starts. It was just the third season in which he had more than 19 starts since his debut season in 2009. And in 2020, he made ten starts. It sure sees he’s been around forever, but he’ll spend the entire 2021 season at age 33. He rarely hits 90 mph (though that’s not new) and his 6.1 K/9 was higher than all but one of his previous six seasons. Estimated 2021 Salary: $4 million Tyler Chatwood Age: 30 Former Team: Chicago Cubs 2020 Stats: 18.2 IP, 5.30 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, 12.1 K/9, 4.3 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: It’s fair to say that things didn’t go as he’d hoped when he signed a big, three-year contract with the Cubs. That first season, he walked way too many. The next season, he worked out of the bullpen. In 2020, he made just five starts before experiencing a forearm/elbow injury. So, why is he a fit? I mean, those strikeouts were nice. Estimated 2021 Salary: $6 million Mike Fiers Age: 35 Former Team: Oakland 2020 Stats: 59.0 IP, 4.58 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 5.6 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Veteran of 10 big league seasons has gone 21-7 over the past two seasons, though his numbers in 2020 with the A’s were not great. He throws strikes, and he is a veteran. He could be a Homer Bailey type signing for veteran leadership, but will his “tattling” on his former Astros teammates hurt him in the industry now that he is a free agent? Could that bring down his asking price, and if so, he’s not a bad #5 starter for any team. Estimated 2021 Salary: $5 million Let us know in the comments who you like at these positions, or if you'd rather stick with Rosario and Cruz. In the meantime, check out previous episodes of Offseason Live and see what's upcoming: Ep 1: (Thurs, 10/8)Ep 2: (Tues, 10/13)Ep 3: (Thurs, 10/15)Ep 4: (Tues, 10/20)Ep 5: (Thurs, 10/22)Ep 6: (Tues, 10/27)Ep 7: Free Agency – Starting Pitchers (Thurs, 10/29)Ep 8: Free Agency – Relief Pitchers (Thurs, 11/5)Ep 9: Twins Trade Targets (Tues, 11/10)Ep 10: Offseason Blueprints (Thurs, 11/12) 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
  6. The former Blue Jays starter didn’t pitch in 2020, and he used some shrewd maneuvering to benefit himself for 2021. Despite a calf tear during Summer Camp, Stroman had ramped up nearly to the point of return for the New York Mets. Having accumulated just enough time to be eligible for free agency in the upcoming offseason, he opted out of the season citing a “collective family decision.” I’m not at all here to question his motives, but good on him for putting his own situation first in a sport that saw owners look to exploit the talent over and over prior to resumption. On the field there’s plenty to unpack with Stroman. He’ll turn 30 in the year ahead and has made a single All-Star Game while generating Cy Young votes just once. He has compiled a career 3.76 ERA and 2019 was arguably his best season as a big leaguer. When healthy Stroman has been an innings eater, and while his career K/9 is just 7.4, he also doesn’t get bit by the long ball or free passes. What Stroman brings to the table is a very consistent approach. He doesn’t own a big fastball, and the average velocity hovers around 94 mph. His whiff rates have always been right around 9% and he forces the opposition to chase just under one-third of the time. What you’re going to get is very few barreled balls and a ton of ground ball outs. The book on Stroman has read virtually the same for the entirety of his career and it’s why the deal to the Mets made little sense a year ago. New York employed arguably the worst infield in baseball, and predictably Stroman was worse off. He went from a 2.96 ERA and 3.51 FIP with Toronto in 2019 to a 3.77 ERA and 4.15 FIP in the Big Apple. Making sure a pitcher like Marcus is backed by sure handed infielders is imperative. Enter the Minnesota Twins and what 2020 saw them do. Josh Donaldson is a massive upgrade defensively at the hot corner, obviously he needs to remain available there. While Jorge Polanco struggled mightily at the plate, he performed adequately in the field. Luis Arraez was better at second base, and Miguel Sano looks entirely passable at first. In totality the Twins were 10th in baseball in defensive fWAR and 3rd when it came to infield outs above average. The entire aforementioned group will be back, and it’s one capable of supporting a ground ball heavy pitcher. These aren’t the same Twins instructing arms to generate soft contact and allow batters to put the ball on the ground. That said, being able to do so at a high level as Stroman is, allows Wes Johnson an ability to pull more from the rest of his game. It’s hard to imagine a massive overhaul at age-30, but considering his prime, a velocity and strikeout boost even in a slight manner could have Stroman experiencing new heights. 2020 saw Stroman awarded a prorated portion of $12 million through arbitration. His 2019 deal checked in at $7.4 million. He’s going to want a long-term deal, and there’s no denying he’s going to get paid. I’d imagine he’ll be more affordable than Bauer however, and that could make the Twins a serious player for his services. By all accounts it appears that Stroman has been a good clubhouse guy and someone you’d want to have on your team. He’s worn blue previously, knows the northern weather well, and could be Minnesota’s 2021 version of Kenta Maeda. I’m on board with this acquisition, and you’d be hard pressed to make an argument for their not being a fit. 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. Randy Dobnak burst onto the scene in 2019 riding a heavy sinker/slider combo to success in his short debut. I’m just going to say it, Randy Dobnak can be a Marcus Stroman-esque pitcher for the Minnesota Twins. Do you think that’s ridiculous? What’s ridiculous is how similar the two pitcher’s profiles are. Check out the pair’s pitch usage and performance: Dobnak: Stroman: Dobnak considers his breaking ball to be a slider despite Statcast categorizing it as a curve. Taking this into consideration, the main difference is Stroman’s consistent use of a cut fastball. Dobnak instead relies on his changeup and four seamer a bit more whereas Stroman rarely uses these pitches. Both pitchers' bread and butter however is their sinker/slider combo. Both use their sinkers around 36% of the time and rely on their breakers for whiffs. Now let’s look at batted-ball profile: Dobnak: Stroman: The parity in GB and FB rates are what I find most important. Both pitchers rely on the ground ball in the age of rising strikeouts. Stroman struck out 20.5% of hitters in 2019, while Dobnak struck out 19.5%. Stroman had a walk rate of 7.5%, while Dobnak only walked 4.2% of his opponents. Both pitchers are also exceptional at avoiding barrels, which are determined in part by achieving a launch angle between 26-30 degrees. Both pitchers' sinkers produced launch angles in the negatives in 2019. Dobnak’s 0.32 HR/9 is unrepeatable, but why can’t it plateau around the 0.88 HR/9 Stroman put up in 2019 with such a similar profile? We saw it at last year’s trade deadline, many people believed Marcus Stroman to be a bona fide ace. The fact of the matter is, 2019 was Stroman’s most valuable season according to Fangraphs WAR and it would have ranked behind Berrios and Odorizzi’s 2019. Comparing Stroman and Dobnak may partially be an argument that Stroman is a bit overrated, but it’s hard to ignore just how much the two pitchers overlap with their strategy and results on the mound in 2019. The elephant in the room is obvious. Randy Dobnak has just 28.1 innings under his belt at the major league level. He’s also taken an unlikely path to the majors and was never considered the prospect that Stroman was when he was taken 22nd overall in 2012. His 1.59 ERA in 2019 is not going to happen again. Even his 2.90 FIP seems ambitious. The skills Dobnak showed are fairly sticky historically however. While he certainly overperformed, things like walk rate and groundball rate don’t typically just disappear from year to year, especially since they’re both skills he showed all through the minors. Randy Dobnak is due for regression in 2020, but his performance in 2019 leaves a lot of room for it while still being an impressive pitcher. He gets ground balls at an elite rate and has a slider that induces a healthy amount of swings and misses just as Marcus Stroman does. In fact, you could take the pair's underlying peripherals and they would be nearly indistinguishable. Because of that, I don’t think it’s crazy to say that Randy Dobnak could put together a season that matches up closely with Marcus Stroman. What do you think? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here
  8. In 2019, Marcus Stroman had a career year with a 3.22 ERA and 3.72 FIP. He was traded at the deadline to the Mets in frustrating fashion, as the Twins felt they could have matched the return for the Blue Jays. The rest is history, as the Twins starting pitching depth fell apart down the stretch. In 2020 however, the Twins not only have the depth to fill the shoes of a Marcus Stroman, they may have a version of him themselves.Randy Dobnak burst onto the scene in 2019 riding a heavy sinker/slider combo to success in his short debut. I’m just going to say it, Randy Dobnak can be a Marcus Stroman-esque pitcher for the Minnesota Twins. Do you think that’s ridiculous? What’s ridiculous is how similar the two pitcher’s profiles are. Check out the pair’s pitch usage and performance: Dobnak: Download attachment: Dobnak Pitch Mix.PNG Stroman: Download attachment: Stroman Pitches.PNG Dobnak considers his breaking ball to be a slider despite Statcast categorizing it as a curve. Taking this into consideration, the main difference is Stroman’s consistent use of a cut fastball. Dobnak instead relies on his changeup and four seamer a bit more whereas Stroman rarely uses these pitches. Both pitchers' bread and butter however is their sinker/slider combo. Both use their sinkers around 36% of the time and rely on their breakers for whiffs. Now let’s look at batted-ball profile: Dobnak: Download attachment: Dobnak Batted Ball Profile.PNG Stroman: Download attachment: Stroman Batted Ball Profile.PNG The parity in GB and FB rates are what I find most important. Both pitchers rely on the ground ball in the age of rising strikeouts. Stroman struck out 20.5% of hitters in 2019, while Dobnak struck out 19.5%. Stroman had a walk rate of 7.5%, while Dobnak only walked 4.2% of his opponents. Both pitchers are also exceptional at avoiding barrels, which are determined in part by achieving a launch angle between 26-30 degrees. Both pitchers' sinkers produced launch angles in the negatives in 2019. Dobnak’s 0.32 HR/9 is unrepeatable, but why can’t it plateau around the 0.88 HR/9 Stroman put up in 2019 with such a similar profile? We saw it at last year’s trade deadline, many people believed Marcus Stroman to be a bona fide ace. The fact of the matter is, 2019 was Stroman’s most valuable season according to Fangraphs WAR and it would have ranked behind Berrios and Odorizzi’s 2019. Comparing Stroman and Dobnak may partially be an argument that Stroman is a bit overrated, but it’s hard to ignore just how much the two pitchers overlap with their strategy and results on the mound in 2019. The elephant in the room is obvious. Randy Dobnak has just 28.1 innings under his belt at the major league level. He’s also taken an unlikely path to the majors and was never considered the prospect that Stroman was when he was taken 22nd overall in 2012. His 1.59 ERA in 2019 is not going to happen again. Even his 2.90 FIP seems ambitious. The skills Dobnak showed are fairly sticky historically however. While he certainly overperformed, things like walk rate and groundball rate don’t typically just disappear from year to year, especially since they’re both skills he showed all through the minors. Randy Dobnak is due for regression in 2020, but his performance in 2019 leaves a lot of room for it while still being an impressive pitcher. He gets ground balls at an elite rate and has a slider that induces a healthy amount of swings and misses just as Marcus Stroman does. In fact, you could take the pair's underlying peripherals and they would be nearly indistinguishable. Because of that, I don’t think it’s crazy to say that Randy Dobnak could put together a season that matches up closely with Marcus Stroman. What do you think? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here Click here to view the article
  9. Here is every move made during this deadline season. It includes prospect rankings per MLB Pipeline. If they weren’t on the top 30 for a team then they are listed as NR (not ranked). 7/27 RP Jake Diekman acquired by Oakland Athletics from Kansas City Royals for OF Dairon Blanco (NR), RHP Ismael Aquino (NR) RP Sergio Romo, SP Chris Vallimont (NR) and PTBNL acquired by the Minnesota Twins from Miami Marlins for 1B Lewin Diaz (#12) 7/28 IF Eric Sogard acquired by Tampa Bay Rays from Toronto Blue Jays for two PTBNL SP Marcus Stroman acquired by the New York Mets from Toronto Blue Jays for LHP Anthony Kay (#5) and RHP Simeon Woods (#7) 7/29 SP Jordan Lyles acquired by the Milwaukee Brewers from Pittsburg Pirates for RHP Cody Ponce (NR) SP Jason Vargas acquired by Philadelphia Phillies from the New York Mets for catcher Austin Bossart (NR) 7/30 RP David Phelps acquired by the Chicago Cubs from the Toronto Blue Jays for RHP Thomas Hatch (NR) RP Chris Martin acquired by the Atlanta Braves from the Texas Rangers for LHP Kolby Allard (#16) Three team trade: Indians acquire Franmil Reyes, Yasiel Puig, Logan Allen (#7), Scott Moss (#12), and Victor Nova (NR). Reds acquire Trevor Bauer. Padres acquire Taylor Trammell (#1). 7/31 Catcher Martin Maldonado acquired by the Houston Astros from the Chicago Cubs for IF Tony Kemp. 1B Jesus Aguilar acquired by the Tampa Bay Rays from the Milwaukee Brewers for RHP Jacob Faria. RP Daniel Hudson acquired by the Washington Nationals from the Toronto Blue Jays for prospect Kyle Johnston. SP/RP Drew Pomeranz acquired by the Milwaukee Brewers from the San Francisco Giants for top prospect Mauricio Dubon (#3). SP Tanner Roark acquired by the Oakland Athletics from the Cincinnati Reds for prospect Jameson Hannah (#8). RP Hunter Strickland and RP Roenis Elias acquired by the Washington Nationals from the Seattle Mariners for prospects Elvis Alvarado (NR), Taylor Guilbeau (#15), and Aaron Fletcher (#21) SP Zac Gallen (#5) acquired by the Arizona Diamondbacks (#1) from the Miami Marlins for SS prospect Jazz Chisolm OF Corey Dickerson acquired by the Philadelphia Phillies from the Pittsburgh Pirates for international signing money and a PTBNL RP Shane Greene acquired by the Atlanta Braves from the Detroit Tigers for prospects LHP Joey Wentz (#7) and OF Travis Demeritte (NR) IF Jedd Gyorko acquired by the Los Angeles Dodgers from the St. Louis Cardinals for a PTBNL RP Joe Biagini and SP Aaron Sanchez acquired by the Houston Astros from the Toronto Blue Jays for Derek Fisher RP Nick Anderson and SP/RP Trevor Richards acquired by the Tampa Bay Rays from the Miami Marlins for OF Jesus Sanchez (#4) and RP Ryne Stanek OF Nicholas Castellanos acquired by the Chicago Cubs from the Detroit Tigers for prospects RHP Alex Lange (#23) and RHP Paul Richtan (NR) SP Mike Leake acquired by the Arizona Diamondbacks from the Seattle Mariners for IF Jose Caballero (NR) SP Zack Greinke acquired by the Houston Astros from the Arizona Diamondbacks for prospects Seth Beer (#3), Corbin Martin (#5), J.B. Bukauskas (#4) and Josh Rojas (NR) RP Sam Dyson acquired by the Minnesota Twins for prospects OF Jaylin Davis (NR), SP Kai-Wei Teng (NR) and Prelander Berroa (NR) RP Carl Edwards Jr. acquired by the San Diego Padres from the Chicago Cubs for LHP Brad Wieck IF Scooter Gennett acquired by the San Francisco Giants from the Cincinnati Reds for a PTBNL Winners: Indians, Astros, Nationals, Braves, Athletics Losers: Yankees, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Reds Most confusing: Giants, Mets What did you think about what the Twins did? Go vent in the comments. Let it all out!
  10. Per La Velle in his latest at the Star Trib: Denied a top-line starter in trade talks, Twins turn to Plan B I gotta say, the notion that Syndergaard is "no longer viable" seems dubious to me. There's still a ways to go until Wednesday afternoon's deadline. Posturing and misdirection are common around this time. The Mets are dreaming if they think they're going to get an established young big-leaguer of Buxton's caliber. However, if the report is indeed true, it sounds like the Twins are fully swinging their focus to the bullpen. Thoughts?
  11. The first question I’d like to ask is should the Twins add a starting pitcher to the rotation? As of Thursday, there were 58 American League pitchers with 70 innings. In terms of FIP, Twins starters ranked 13th (Berrios), 17th (Odorizzi), 21st (Gibson), 24th (Perez) and 27th (Pineda). In other words, the entire rotation was in the top half of that sample. To put that into perspective, the Astros have three guys inside the top 27 (Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander and Brad Peacock), Cleveland has two (Shane Bieber and Trevor Bauer) and the Yankees only have one (James Paxton). Sounds really good right? I agree, however, this only tells us what has happened so far. FIP is a good predictor of future success (well, at least better than ERA), but the unknown element is whether or not the other contending teams in the AL will make significant additions to their rotations over the coming week. While the Twins rotation flexes in terms of depth, the other top teams in the AL have much more formidable pieces at the top. Can that still work? Yes, I think it can. We only need to look back to last year’s Milwaukee Brewers for proof. That team had a similar solid but unspectacular rotation that relied more on its depth. Jhoulys Chacin was the ace of that staff, though Wade Miley was very good when healthy. Neither of those guys can hold a candle to Berrios. That Milwaukee team managed to beat the Cubs in a Game 163 to take the NL Central with 96 wins. The pitching matchup was Chacin vs. Jose Quintana. The Brewers then swept the Rockies, giving up just two total runs in those three games. They even pushed the Dodgers all the way to a Game 7 in the NLCS behind a rotation of Miley, Chacin and Gio Gonzalez. The big difference is Milwaukee had an excellent bullpen, though it wasn't comprised of costly big-name arms. The Twins will need to upgrade their pitching staff, nobody is going to argue with that, but I’m not so convinced they really need to add a starter. Let me know what you think. The second thing I’d love to year your opinion on is if the Twins do acquire a starting pitcher, who gets booted to the bullpen? I think this is a tricky question. Might it actually come down to matchups? Berrios is clearly the No. 1 guy on the staff, but things get very fuzzy after that. Odorizzi went to the All-Star Game, but he has a 7.99 ERA over his past seven starts. On the other end of the spectrum, Pineda has a 2.93 ERA in his last seven outings. Gibson has been steady, but never spectacular. Perez has by far the worst WHIP on the staff, but he's also the only lefty starter. Deadline Discussion The big news of the day was that Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic confirmed the Mets are considering offers on Noah Syndergaard. Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote that "The hardest sell for the Mets baseball operations department leading up to the trade deadline is not persuading suitors to make substantial offers for Edwin Diaz and Noah Syndergaard. It will be convincing ownership to accept such a deal if it reaches a level perceived acceptable." La Velle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune confirmed the Twins not only have interest in Snydergaard, but according to his sources, the Mets are asking for both Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff. Rosenthal also made reference to "the growing possibility" that Trevor Bauer and Matthew Boyd would not be traded in a recent piece for The Athletic. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reported that "according to a source with knowledge of the team's plans" the Giants are poised to be buyers and "it's all but certain" Madison Bumgarner will not be traded. Cody wrote about how it's important to avoid impulse trades, such as the one Pittsburgh made to acquire Chris Archer last year. Cody also tabbed Zack Greinke as the starting pitching target of his ideal deadline. Andrew took a look at what it would take to acquire Marcus Stroman and made the case that the Twins should make a deal for Mike Minor. Cooper offered up a couple of under the radar options for the rotation: Sonny Gray and Robbie Ray. Should the Twins be aggressive on the starting pitching market? Would you trade Lewis and Kirilloff for Syndergaard? Who transitions to the bullpen if there is an addition? And if you hear any more rumors today, please feel free to pass them along.
  12. Have you missed the earlier parts of this series? Part 1: 2020 Part 2: Payroll Part 3: The Ammunition Part 4: The Sellers ********** At the top of the Twins - and every other team’s - wish list is a front-end starting pitcher who has team control. By adding one of these players, the Twins would take a current starter (probably Martin Perez) and move him to the bullpen for the remainder of the year. I’m also being more than generous lumping some of these guys into the “front-end” conversation. These guys are starters and would be inserted into the rotation if acquired. Zack Greinke, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks. Turns 36 in October, 4.7 bWAR, 3.15 FIP, 8.2 K/9; owed a boatload of money over this season and the next two, also has a lot of deferred money he is owed and the Twins are on his no-trade list. Will he be a Twin? No, he won’t. But it would be really fun. Marcus Stroman, RHP, New York Mets. Turned 28 in May, 3.2 bWAR, 3.52 FIP, 7.1 K/9; owed ~$2.5 million over the rest of 2019 and will command around $14m in his last arbitration year before heading to free agency. Stroman would slot in perfectly behind Berrios despite not having overpowering stuff. He’s survived the AL East and performed heroically in the World Baseball Classic. The Mets traded for him Sunday afternoon, and appear to be keeping him rather than flipping him. Will he be a Twin? The Twins certainly had the pieces to deal with Toronto, but couldn't/didn't beat the Mets package. The Mets now have the most intriguing rental (Zach Wheeler), player with one year of control (Stroman) and player with two years of control (Syndergaard). Noah Syndergaard, RHP, New York Mets. Turns 27 in August, 1.2 bWAR, 3.64 FIP, 9.0 K/9; owed ~$2 million over the rest of the 2019 season and has two more years of arbitration left before heading to free agency. Syndergaard has not been as good this year as in the past, but the price is still incredibly high. The Padres and Braves sound like the most interested trade partners, with the Astros and Yankees showing interest as well. After adding Stroman, maybe the Mets are going for it. Will he be a Twin? We can dream, right? At this point, that’s what it is, despite having the ammunition to get it done. Matthew Boyd, LHP, Detroit Tigers. Turns 29 in February, 3.0 bWAR, 3.57 FIP, 12.0 K/9; owed ~$850,000 over the rest of the 2019 season and has three years of arbitration remaining. Not the youngest on this list, but is the one with the most team control, which makes him the most valuable. Will he be a Twin? Because he’s in the division, there is a very slim chance the Twins acquire Boyd. Trevor Bauer, RHP, Cleveland Indians. Turns 29 in January, 2.4 bWAR, 4.19 FIP, 10.6 K/9; owed ~$4.3 million over the rest of 2019 and will command around $18m in his last arbitration year before heading to free agency. Do the Indians move Bauer? And would they move him to the team they competing directly with for a playoff spot? Will he be a Twin? Extremely unlikely, despite his Sunday meltdown. Robbie Ray, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks. Turns 28 in October, 1.1 bWAR, 4.27 FIP, 11.9 K/9; owed ~$2 million over the rest of 2019 and will command around $11m in his last arbitration year before heading to free agency. Ray is probably a step below many of the other available. Will he be a Twin? They’ve kicked the tires on Ray and the teams were able to match up on a deal last year. Will a team not in on the big names try to strike early? It’s possible. I don’t consider Ray to be one of their top choices, so I don’t see this being a match unless it happens very late in the process. Lance Lynn, RHP, Texas Rangers. Turned 32 in May; 5.0 bWAR, 2.94 FIP, 10.2 K/9; owed ~$3.1 million over the rest of the 2019 season and is under contract for two more years at $20.7m. Lynn has been an above-average pitcher for his entire career, except for his time with the Twins, when he couldn’t throw strikes. Will he be a Twin? It would be a nightmarish reunion for fans, especially if he doesn’t perform well. But he’s been really good this year, the cost wouldn’t be excessive and he would help with the playoff push. If he keeps playing like he has so far this year, all fans would get over his 2018 performance. Mike Leake, RHP, Seattle Mariners. Turns 32 in November, 2.0 bWAR, 4.71 FIP, 6.7 K/9; owed ~3.6 million over the rest of the 2019 season and acquiring team would be on the hook for $11m of his $15m contract in 2020 as well as a $5m buyout on a $18m mutual option in 2021. The Twins could afford to take on the $20 still owed to Leake and, in doing so, could avoid moving their better prospects. He’d also help fill a need in next year’s rotation… but is he an upgrade on anyone in the current rotation? That’s a big question. Will he be a Twin? If the Twins are convinced they’d be better with Leake in the rotation and Perez in the bullpen than with Perez in the rotation and a new acquisition in the bullpen, then this is a move I could certainly see the team making. Mike Minor, LHP, Texas Rangers. Turns 32 in December, 5.8 bWAR, 4.20 FIP, 9.1 K/9; owed ~$3.3 million over the rest of 2019 and under contract for $9,833,333 next season. Minor will be a free agent following the 2020 season. Despite how good he’s been this year - he’s been great - his track record isn’t. Will he be a Twin? There is definitely familiarity between Thad Levine and Rangers GM Jon Daniels. And though he’s been arguably the best pitcher who is available, the cost shouldn’t be as high as others. Next on the Twins list would be a controllable, dependable back-of-the-bullpen type. Shane Greene, RHP, Detroit Tigers. Turns 31 in November; 1.5 bWAR, 3.74 FIP, 10.0 K/9; owed ~$1.3 million over the rest of the 2019 season and will command around $8m in his last arbitration year before heading to free agency. Greene is having his best season by far and the Tigers are looking to cash in. Will he be a Twin? Fortunately, the Twins and Tigers don’t appear likely to connect on a trade, saving the Twins from trading for someone who has a very short track record despite being a relief pitcher for the last three seasons. Jake McGee, LHP, Colorado Rockies. Turns 33 in August; 0.8 bWAR, 4.92 FIP, 7.3 K/9; owed ~$2.8 million over the rest of the 2019 season with $11.5m more guaranteed over the next two years, including a likely-to-vest option for 2021, increasing the guarantee to $18.5m. McGee is not the same performer he was with Tampa Bay, but has dominated left-handed hitters this year (which he did not do last year). Will he be a Twin? There are better, less expensive options available currently. But if it gets close to the deadline and the Twins are still in the market for another left-handed option, they could do worse. Edwin Diaz, RHP, New York Mets. Turned 25 in March; 0.0 bWAR, 3.50 FIP, 14.0 K/9; owed ~$200,000 over the rest of the 2019 season and has three years of arbitration left before free agency. Diaz was the best reliever in baseball in 2018 and the Mets paid for it. He hasn’t been good this year, yet the Mets are still asking for a ton, as they should. Will he be a Twin? The cost will be super high. The Twins appear most interested in Diaz of all the potential Mets trade chips, but that still doesn’t make this move more likely. Kirby Yates, RHP, San Diego Padres. Turned 32 in March; 2.4 bWAR, 1.07 FIP, 14.7 K/9; owed ~$1 million over the rest of the 2019 season and will command around $7m in his last arbitration year before heading to free agency. The Padres turned a waiver-wire claim in Brad Hand into a Top 100 prospect in Francisco Mejia. They’re likely to try to do the same thing with Yates. Yates has been great, don’t get me wrong. But he’s a great example of how elite relievers don’t always take the path that begins with being a top prospect. Will he be a Twin? His price will be high, but if the Twins insist on moving big-time prospects for a controllable reliever, Yates is one of the better options. Felipe Vasquez, LHP, Pittsburgh Pirates. Turned 28 in July; 2.0 bWAR, 1.96 FIP, 14.1 K/9; owed ~$1.5 million over the rest of the 2019 season, with two more guaranteed years ($13.5m) before two team options ($10m each). Vasquez would certainly change the complexion of the bullpen, wouldn’t he? Will he be a Twin? Like Diaz, the cost will be extreme, which makes the likelihood of a trade small. Ian Kennedy, RHP, Kansas City Royals. Turns 35 in December; 0.9 bWAR, 2.16 FIP, 11.1 K/9; owed ~$5.5 million over the rest of the 2019 season and $16.5m in 2020. Kennedy’s career has been rejuvenated by a move to the bullpen. He’s walking less and striking out more hitters than ever before. Will he be a Twin? This is a move the team should make. With financial flexibility to take on salary, which would offset the need to part with top prospects, the Twins and Royals can match up nicely. That is, if the Royals are ok sending their closer to an in-division team. Ken Giles, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays. Turns 29 in September; 1.8 bWAR, 1.60 FIP; 14.9 K/9; owed ~$2.1 million over the rest of the 2019 season and will command around $10m in his last arbitration year before heading to free agency. Giles should be high on the priority list for the Twins and others. You can definitely find reasons to not like Giles - he’s basically a two-years-younger-version of Cody Allen. But there’s a lot to like too. Will he be a Twin? The Twins will go as far down this path as they can. Will it end with Giles in Minnesota? We’ll find out soon. We're getting down to it... who are the Twins going to add?
  13. To figure out what it might take to acquire Marcus Stroman, let’s start by looking at what he brings to the table. Stroman is currently 28 years of age and is under team control through the 2020 season. Stroman currently possess a 3.06 ERA (3.62 FIP) in 117 and 2/3 innings for the Blue Jays so far in 2019. For his career, Stroman has a 3.78 ERA (3.62 FIP) through his first six MLB seasons. Stroman isn’t a heavy strikeout pitcher, as his career 19.3% strikeout rate is quite low for today’s standards. From a control perspective, Stroman is solid, as his career 6.7% walk rate is slightly above average for an MLB starting pitcher. What makes Stroman so effective is his extremely high groundball rate. In a era where hitters are trying to hit the ball in the air more than ever, Stroman does an excellent job of preventing them from doing so. Since his debut in 2014, Stroman has a 59.6% groundball rate and a 22.1% flyball rate. Among the 152 starting pitchers with at least 400 innings pitched over that span, those numbers rank as the second highest and third lowest respectively. The next step is to look at the deal the Blue Jays are reportedly asking for. The blockbuster trade of last summer was the deal that sent Chris Archer to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows and Shane Baz. At the time Archer was still a highly thought of starting pitcher, with three and a half years of team control remaining. More than double of what is left on Marcus Stroman’s contract. Glasnow and Meadows were both highly touted prospects in the Pirates system who were up with MLB team, but hadn’t shown much at the MLB level quite yet. Still they were prized possessions, who many believed were ready to break out sooner rather than later, which is exactly what happened. Meadows has gotten off to a great start to 2019 and was named to the American League All-Star team. Glasnow was on his way there too with a 1.86 ERA (2.32 FIP) in eight starts before getting shut down with forearm inflammation. In addition to those two, Baz was the Pirates first round pick in 2017, and was ranked as the 95th best prospect in baseball by MLB.com at the time of the trade. Baz currently sits as MLB.com’s 91st best prospect in baseball, right around where they have Trevor Larnach and Jordan Balazovic ranked, for context. If the Twins were to match that offer, they would be looking at giving up a package deal that includes Alex Kirilloff, Brusdar Graterol and Jordan Balazovic. It is probably safe to assume that the Blue Jays won’t be getting any offers for Marcus Stroman that are remotely in the range of that Chris Archer deal that a year later is already considered on of the worst deals in MLB history. Especially given the fact that Stroman has less trade value now than Archer did at this point last summer given the length of control each player has/had. If the Blue Jays don’t get a package that they like for Stroman, they could always hang onto him. However, they have little leverage to use that in a negotiation right now because MLB teams know the Blue Jays won’t be competitive again until after his contract is up, and from this point on, his trade value is only diminishing as the number of starts he can give the team that acquires him goes down. So, if the Blue Jays want to maximize their value for Stroman, they need to make a deal happen before the July 31st trade deadline. If we want to look at a more realistic trade to comparison for a Marcus Stroman deal, a better trade to look at might be the Sonny Gray trade in 2017. At the time of his trade, Gray still had two and 1/2 years of control left before free agency, and like Stroman, was considered a young arm that would slot right into the top of the rotation on a postseason contender. While this is more than Stroman has left on his deal, it is a lot closer comparison than the Chris Archer deal. In that trade the Yankees gave up Dustin Fowler, Jorge Mateo and James Kaprielian, who were their fourth, eighth and twelfth ranked prospects respectively according to MLB.com. However, both Fowler and Kaprielian’s trade values had been significantly diminished at the time of the trade due to injury. Kaprielian was only a few months removed from Tommy John surgery and Fowler had torn his right patellar tendon after crashing into the while during the first inning of his MLB debut. At the time of the deal, the Yankees were considered to have a top farm system, like the Twins do now. So, if the Twins were to offer up their fourth, eighth and twelfth ranked prospects, according to MLB.com, the deal would include Trevor Larnach, Jhoan Duran and Stephen Gonsalves. To me, this seems like a much more realistic trade proposal for the Blue Jays to receive than one that would match the Chris Archer deal. However, since Gray still had an entire extra year of control remaining, it still stands to question that a fair trade for Stroman would be a little less expensive than that. With all those factors laid out, we can start to make a more accurate prediction as to what it should cost to acquire Marcus Stroman. While this isn’t an exact science, because we don’t know exactly how the Twins and Blue Jays value the players in the Twins farm systems, and we don’t know exactly what other teams are willing to offer, we can probably get pretty close to a fair market value for Stroman. Personally, I think both Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff should not be on the table in trade discussions for Stroman, as each carries much more value to the organization than acquiring Stroman for one and a half years would. Additionally, I find it hard to believe that the Twins will look to move Brusdar Graterol right now with his value being diminished due to his shoulder injury. This leaves both Trevor Larnach and Jordan Balazovic to injclued as the headliner in the return package back to the Blue Jays. I think it will take at least one of these two, plus one or two other mid-level prospects to get the deal done. My Offer: Trevor Larnach, Lewis Thorpe and Nick Gordon What do you think? Is this package enticing enough to convince the Blue Jays to trade Marcus Stroman to the Twins, or is this offer too much to give up for him? What would you be willing to trade away to get Stroman? Let us know in the comment section down below.
  14. As the trade deadline draws near, the Minnesota Twins still haven’t made any substantial moves to support either the bullpen or the starting rotation. There has been a lot of speculation on a number of pitchers the Twins could acquire here at Twins Daily. One of those pitchers is Toronto Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman. The Blue Jays are said to have a high asking price on Stroman, and would like a deal similar to the one the Tampa Bay Rays received in return for Chris Archer last season. Will the Blue Jays get their wish and bring in a gigantic haul for Stroman, or will they need to settle for a lesser offer?To figure out what it might take to acquire Marcus Stroman, let’s start by looking at what he brings to the table. Stroman is currently 28 years of age and is under team control through the 2020 season. Stroman currently possess a 3.06 ERA (3.62 FIP) in 117 and 2/3 innings for the Blue Jays so far in 2019. For his career, Stroman has a 3.78 ERA (3.62 FIP) through his first six MLB seasons. Stroman isn’t a heavy strikeout pitcher, as his career 19.3% strikeout rate is quite low for today’s standards. From a control perspective, Stroman is solid, as his career 6.7% walk rate is slightly above average for an MLB starting pitcher. What makes Stroman so effective is his extremely high groundball rate. In a era where hitters are trying to hit the ball in the air more than ever, Stroman does an excellent job of preventing them from doing so. Since his debut in 2014, Stroman has a 59.6% groundball rate and a 22.1% flyball rate. Among the 152 starting pitchers with at least 400 innings pitched over that span, those numbers rank as the second highest and third lowest respectively. The next step is to look at the deal the Blue Jays are reportedly asking for. The blockbuster trade of last summer was the deal that sent Chris Archer to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows and Shane Baz. At the time Archer was still a highly thought of starting pitcher, with three and a half years of team control remaining. More than double of what is left on Marcus Stroman’s contract. Glasnow and Meadows were both highly touted prospects in the Pirates system who were up with MLB team, but hadn’t shown much at the MLB level quite yet. Still they were prized possessions, who many believed were ready to break out sooner rather than later, which is exactly what happened. Meadows has gotten off to a great start to 2019 and was named to the American League All-Star team. Glasnow was on his way there too with a 1.86 ERA (2.32 FIP) in eight starts before getting shut down with forearm inflammation. In addition to those two, Baz was the Pirates first round pick in 2017, and was ranked as the 95th best prospect in baseball by MLB.com at the time of the trade. Baz currently sits as MLB.com’s 91st best prospect in baseball, right around where they have Trevor Larnach and Jordan Balazovic ranked, for context. If the Twins were to match that offer, they would be looking at giving up a package deal that includes Alex Kirilloff, Brusdar Graterol and Jordan Balazovic. It is probably safe to assume that the Blue Jays won’t be getting any offers for Marcus Stroman that are remotely in the range of that Chris Archer deal that a year later is already considered on of the worst deals in MLB history. Especially given the fact that Stroman has less trade value now than Archer did at this point last summer given the length of control each player has/had. If the Blue Jays don’t get a package that they like for Stroman, they could always hang onto him. However, they have little leverage to use that in a negotiation right now because MLB teams know the Blue Jays won’t be competitive again until after his contract is up, and from this point on, his trade value is only diminishing as the number of starts he can give the team that acquires him goes down. So, if the Blue Jays want to maximize their value for Stroman, they need to make a deal happen before the July 31st trade deadline. If we want to look at a more realistic trade to comparison for a Marcus Stroman deal, a better trade to look at might be the Sonny Gray trade in 2017. At the time of his trade, Gray still had two and 1/2 years of control left before free agency, and like Stroman, was considered a young arm that would slot right into the top of the rotation on a postseason contender. While this is more than Stroman has left on his deal, it is a lot closer comparison than the Chris Archer deal. In that trade the Yankees gave up Dustin Fowler, Jorge Mateo and James Kaprielian, who were their fourth, eighth and twelfth ranked prospects respectively according to MLB.com. However, both Fowler and Kaprielian’s trade values had been significantly diminished at the time of the trade due to injury. Kaprielian was only a few months removed from Tommy John surgery and Fowler had torn his right patellar tendon after crashing into the while during the first inning of his MLB debut. At the time of the deal, the Yankees were considered to have a top farm system, like the Twins do now. So, if the Twins were to offer up their fourth, eighth and twelfth ranked prospects, according to MLB.com, the deal would include Trevor Larnach, Jhoan Duran and Stephen Gonsalves. To me, this seems like a much more realistic trade proposal for the Blue Jays to receive than one that would match the Chris Archer deal. However, since Gray still had an entire extra year of control remaining, it still stands to question that a fair trade for Stroman would be a little less expensive than that. With all those factors laid out, we can start to make a more accurate prediction as to what it should cost to acquire Marcus Stroman. While this isn’t an exact science, because we don’t know exactly how the Twins and Blue Jays value the players in the Twins farm systems, and we don’t know exactly what other teams are willing to offer, we can probably get pretty close to a fair market value for Stroman. Personally, I think both Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff should not be on the table in trade discussions for Stroman, as each carries much more value to the organization than acquiring Stroman for one and a half years would. Additionally, I find it hard to believe that the Twins will look to move Brusdar Graterol right now with his value being diminished due to his shoulder injury. This leaves both Trevor Larnach and Jordan Balazovic to injclued as the headliner in the return package back to the Blue Jays. I think it will take at least one of these two, plus one or two other mid-level prospects to get the deal done. My Offer: Trevor Larnach, Lewis Thorpe and Nick Gordon What do you think? Is this package enticing enough to convince the Blue Jays to trade Marcus Stroman to the Twins, or is this offer too much to give up for him? What would you be willing to trade away to get Stroman? Let us know in the comment section down below. Click here to view the article
  15. We finally have an RSS feed! Listening to the podcast is much easier than it ever has been before. We use Spotify and next week we hope to be approved for iTunes, but for the Spotify version click the link below! https://open.spotify.com/episode/0oFNDwbho6tEhWSRwNfbG8 If you have any comments or want to ask some questions for next weeks podcast, just tag our twitter accounts with the comment or question... Matt: Matthew_btwins Cooper: Carlson_MNTwins
  16. The first thing we all need to admit, the term Prospect means something different to everyone. People aren’t going to agree on every prospect or rank them exactly the same. My Top prospect ranking looks a little different than Cody’s rankings or Tom’s rankings and with others, we have our Twins Daily Top 40 rankings. It looks different than Baseball America which looks a little different than Baseball Prospectus which looks a little different than FanGraphs which looks a little different than MLB Pipeline Which looks different than ESPNs rankings. And that’s OK. But as it relates to the Trade Deadline, the only prospect rankings and organizational depth charts that matter are the Minnesota Twins and any team that is scouting their players. That is the reason that each individual can have a slightly different, or fully different, opinion on a trade and the players dealt away. To that degree, we love our prospects, right? Every fan base loves its own prospects. No matter the deal, any trade that sends a player away hurts to some degree because, even if we don’t know that player personally, he’s part of the “We” that includes players, front office and fans too. At the same time, we all understand that in order to get something, something has to be given up, and in baseball, especially at the trade deadline, that comes in the form of prospects. I’ve been giving it some thought… let me know in the Comments if this makes sense. By definition, signing a free agent means that a team was willing to pay a little bit more than the other 29 teams were willing to pay. So it is overpaying, but hopefully just by a little bit. However, each team should also have a maximum amount (in years and dollars) for each player. It is sort of the same at the trade deadline. You know in every trade, the seller accepts the trade from the team that offered them the most. The acquiring team overpaid by just enough to “win” the trade. So, the goal of a Buyer when they really want to acquire a player should be to overpay, but just by a little bit. Each team should also have a maximum amount (in terms of prospects) for each player. So as it relates to the trade deadline, what does that mean? For each of the following players, how much would you be willing to trade? How much is too much? Noah Syndergaard: Marcus Stroman: Ken Giles: Mike Minor: Lance Lynn; Sergio Romo: Daniel Hudson: And the list goes on and on. How much do we love “our” prospects? But how much do we want to increase the Twins likelihood of winning a World Series incrementally? That is the question for you in the comments below, but it is also the question for the Twins front office in the next four to five days. SCOUTING UPDATES There are often scouts from other organizations at minor league games, just doing their job and getting information on players from the Twins organization. However, I have heard that there have been a lot of scouts in the last couple of weeks, particularly in Ft. Myers and Pensacola. The teams that have sent scouts to the Twins include (but certainly not limited to) the Blue Jays, Mets, Tigers, Royals, Giants, Rangers and Diamondbacks. That only makes sense. Teams are looking for pitching, and almost every night, there are real quality pitching prospects going for those affiliates. Teams certainly want to get a look at the likes of Edwar Colina, Jhoan Duran, Blayne Enlow, and even a guy like Cole Sands who has been really strong in his professional debut. Scouts have seen Jordan Balazovic, though his next start will be for Team Canada against Cuba on Tuesday at the Pan Am games in Peru. And they would certainly like to see Brusdar Graterol who hasn’t pitched in a game since May 19th, though there were reports this week that he could start a rehab assignment soon in the GCL. As for position players, the players that teams are scouting are in the lineup most every day, so it’s easier to know that they can be seen. There are scouts assigned to cover certain teams, and generally speaking they continue to be on-hand and scout as usual. However, over these last week or two they may be asked to focus on a target or two. Also over this time frame, teams may pull one of their other scouts will be pull off of their regular duty to get extra eyes on an organization that could be a trade partner. Twins Rumors On Thursday afternoon, the big talker became Noah Syndergaard. On Friday afternoon, the spotlight shifted again, this time north of the border to Marcus Stroman and Ken Giles. https://twitter.com/jonmorosi/status/1154889022000340992 Jon Morosi from MLB Network got Twins fans talking for going very specific. A top-of-rotation starter and a veteran reliever are available, but Morosi says the Twins aren’t sure that they would give up both Trevor Larnach and Brusdar Graterol for him. Would the price come down if the teams waiting until Tuesday or Wednesday, or will another team swoop them up? Would it cost more or less to acquire the two together or in separate deals? In other words, what would the cost be for the Twins to acquire Stroman and then to acquire Giles (or another top reliever) in individual deals? And how does the Twins interest in Daniel Hudson factor into these discussions? Hey Sergio! The Twins will be in Miami during the trade deadline next week. Could they get Sergio Romo to switch dugouts mid-series? https://twitter.com/CraigMish/status/1154826791908978690 The 36-year-old is in his 12th season in the big leagues. He won three World Series titles with the Giants. He has 126 saves. He has 10.0 K/9 rate and 2.1 BB/9. This year with the Marlins, he has a 7.8 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 to go with a 3.58 ERA. He is also 17 for 18 in save opportunities. Romo is now a soft-tosser, reliant on his moxie, and a good mix of changeup and slider. The cost to acquire him would be quite low. Syndergaard Updates Joel Sherman from the New York Post.reported again on Friday night that the Mets are definitely looking to trade Noah Syndergaard. He mentions the Astros, Braves and Padres are the teams they feel have the best opportunity to acquire him. LaVelle Neal from the Star Tribune noted on Thursday that it might take Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff to acquire Syndergaard. That should not be the case for the hard-throwing right-hander who has an ERA over 4 this year and missed most of the 2017 season with injury. But he is an ace caliber right-hander who has two more years of team control after this year. Dan Hayes from The Athletic pointed out that the Twins would be willing to move Lewis or Kirilloff in the right deal, meaning, for an Ace starting pitcher. In the same Sherman article, he pointed out that the likelihood that closer Edwin Diaz being traded “has greatly increased as well.” In fact, Jim Bowden says there may be more interest in the hard-throwing right-hander. https://twitter.com/JimBowdenGM/status/1155157106850455557 And hey, Ken Rosenthal has found a scenario where the Mets trade Syndergaard to the Padres and then the Mets would acquire Marcus Stroman. Ah, trade deadline rumors. https://twitter.com/Ken_Rosenthal/status/1155186573350199297 Twins Inquire on Robbie Ray Availability https://twitter.com/jonmorosi/status/1155159228069187585 Yeah, that’s really it. The Twins have called the Diamondbacks to ask about Robbie Ray… As they have called on probably every potentially available pitcher at the trade deadline. Cross Him Off the List… One name mentioned in Twins rumors over the last month has been traded. On Saturday afternoon, Royals lefty reliever Jake Diekman became A’s lefty reliever Jake Diekman, per Jeff Passon: https://twitter.com/JeffPassan/status/1155188823657189376 The A’s sent two minor leaguers to Kansas City to complete the deal,20-year-old right-hander Ismael Aquino (second season in the Arizona League) and outfielder Dairon Blanco, a 26-year-old Cuban outfielder in AA. (I was asked what an equivalent trade from the Twins may have looked like. I think the best I could do to compare would be GCL RHP Donny Breek and AA/AAA OF Jimmy Kerrigan.
  17. We often hear the term Untouchable, and as we have all reiterated in recent weeks, it really is a misnomer. As has been pointed out, it really means Untouchable-Unless-Overwhelmed. Anyone can be traded in the right deal. In today’s Trade Deadline topics, we discuss why there are a variety of opinions on any given trade, and also what has been happening as it relates to scouting. Then there were several of rumors spreading around the likes of Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, Ken Giles, Sergio Romo, Robbie Ray and others.The first thing we all need to admit, the term Prospect means something different to everyone. People aren’t going to agree on every prospect or rank them exactly the same. My Top prospect ranking looks a little different than Cody’s rankings or Tom’s rankings and with others, we have our Twins Daily Top 40 rankings. It looks different than Baseball America which looks a little different than Baseball Prospectus which looks a little different than FanGraphs which looks a little different than MLB Pipeline Which looks different than ESPNs rankings. And that’s OK. But as it relates to the Trade Deadline, the only prospect rankings and organizational depth charts that matter are the Minnesota Twins and any team that is scouting their players. That is the reason that each individual can have a slightly different, or fully different, opinion on a trade and the players dealt away. To that degree, we love our prospects, right? Every fan base loves its own prospects. No matter the deal, any trade that sends a player away hurts to some degree because, even if we don’t know that player personally, he’s part of the “We” that includes players, front office and fans too. At the same time, we all understand that in order to get something, something has to be given up, and in baseball, especially at the trade deadline, that comes in the form of prospects. I’ve been giving it some thought… let me know in the Comments if this makes sense. By definition, signing a free agent means that a team was willing to pay a little bit more than the other 29 teams were willing to pay. So it is overpaying, but hopefully just by a little bit. However, each team should also have a maximum amount (in years and dollars) for each player. It is sort of the same at the trade deadline. You know in every trade, the seller accepts the trade from the team that offered them the most. The acquiring team overpaid by just enough to “win” the trade. So, the goal of a Buyer when they really want to acquire a player should be to overpay, but just by a little bit. Each team should also have a maximum amount (in terms of prospects) for each player. So as it relates to the trade deadline, what does that mean? For each of the following players, how much would you be willing to trade? How much is too much? Noah Syndergaard: Marcus Stroman: Ken Giles: Mike Minor: Lance Lynn; Sergio Romo: Daniel Hudson: And the list goes on and on. How much do we love “our” prospects? But how much do we want to increase the Twins likelihood of winning a World Series incrementally? That is the question for you in the comments below, but it is also the question for the Twins front office in the next four to five days. SCOUTING UPDATES There are often scouts from other organizations at minor league games, just doing their job and getting information on players from the Twins organization. However, I have heard that there have been a lot of scouts in the last couple of weeks, particularly in Ft. Myers and Pensacola. The teams that have sent scouts to the Twins include (but certainly not limited to) the Blue Jays, Mets, Tigers, Royals, Giants, Rangers and Diamondbacks. That only makes sense. Teams are looking for pitching, and almost every night, there are real quality pitching prospects going for those affiliates. Teams certainly want to get a look at the likes of Edwar Colina, Jhoan Duran, Blayne Enlow, and even a guy like Cole Sands who has been really strong in his professional debut. Scouts have seen Jordan Balazovic, though his next start will be for Team Canada against Cuba on Tuesday at the Pan Am games in Peru. And they would certainly like to see Brusdar Graterol who hasn’t pitched in a game since May 19th, though there were reports this week that he could start a rehab assignment soon in the GCL. As for position players, the players that teams are scouting are in the lineup most every day, so it’s easier to know that they can be seen. There are scouts assigned to cover certain teams, and generally speaking they continue to be on-hand and scout as usual. However, over these last week or two they may be asked to focus on a target or two. Also over this time frame, teams may pull one of their other scouts will be pull off of their regular duty to get extra eyes on an organization that could be a trade partner. Twins Rumors On Thursday afternoon, the big talker became Noah Syndergaard. On Friday afternoon, the spotlight shifted again, this time north of the border to Marcus Stroman and Ken Giles. The A’s sent two minor leaguers to Kansas City to complete the deal,20-year-old right-hander Ismael Aquino (second season in the Arizona League) and outfielder Dairon Blanco, a 26-year-old Cuban outfielder in AA. (I was asked what an equivalent trade from the Twins may have looked like. I think the best I could do to compare would be GCL RHP Donny Breek and AA/AAA OF Jimmy Kerrigan. Click here to view the article
  18. As I mentioned, we are one week from the July 31st trade deadline. In years past, there were two trade deadlines. July 31st was the non-waiver trade deadline, meaning anyone can be traded up until that point. Then there was a second trade deadline at the end of August in which players had to be put on trade waivers to be traded. It’s a little more complex than that, but no need to dive into something that is no longer a thing this year. The decision to have just one trade line was made this past offseason. A big reason for it was because of how slow the offseason free agency was. When the best free agents were still available in March and a couple were still available in June, they thought something needed to happen. The idea was first proposed by the MLB Players Association to “"to protect the competitive integrity of the 162-game regular season, create more certainty for players and force teams to decide earlier whether they are buyers or sellers." Many thought it would create more activity at the deadline. So far it hasn’t, unless trades of Homer Bailey or Andrew Cashner or Martin Maldonado excite you. Why? At the end of the day, a deadline is a deadline. Right now, the “sellers” are asking for the world in terms of prospect return. No rational GM is going to do that. Right now, most of the National League teams are still in playoff contention, at least to some degree. There are at least seven of the American League teams vying for five playoff spots as well. A few may choose to “Sell” by the time the deadline rolls around, but until then, they might as well keep playing. Consider that the Giants have won 16 of their last 19 games and are now nearing a Wild Card spot. Does that mean that Madison Bumgarner and their slew of relief pitchers are still unavailable? Probably, at least for now. Because of those names (and others) likely not being available right now, Jon Heyman thinks it could cause the Toronto Blue Jays to try to deal Marcus Stroman more quickly. https://twitter.com/JonHeyman/status/1153859671607975936 Earlier this week, Andrew Thares asked what it might take for the Twins to acquire Stroman. Ultimately a deadline is a deadline. The fact that there is just one only means that there are more buyers (usually) at the July deadline than there might be if there was still an August deadline. GMs don’t want to overpay, and that’s what the sellers are trying to get in return right now. And the only thing that will force those sellers hands is the deadline. So I expect there may be a few traded trickling in over the next few days, I think that most trades will happen in the final 24-48 hours leading up to the July 31st deadline… same as it always has been. Deadline Discussions MLB Trade Rumors created a poll asking readers to give their thoughts on the Pirates potentially trading left-handed reliever Felipe Vasquez, quietly one of the best relievers in baseball. What makes him intriguing (and very, very costly) is that he signed a four year, $20 million contract a couple of years ago. Looking into his contract, he is owned $5.25 million in 2020 and $7.25 million in 2021.Even better, he has two options in the deal in which he could get $10 million in 2022 ($1 million buyout) and 2023 ($500K buyout) if things are going well. Thieres wrote about Vasquez in our Potential Bullpen Target series. Old Friend Rhett Bollinger reported last Friday that the Angels had DFAd RHP Matt Harvey. On Tuesday, The Dark Knight officially became a free agent. Could he be a match for the Twins, maybe not as a starter, but as a long relief option? Jim Duquette in The Athletic wrote about six players he believes should not be traded right now, and that list includes four pitchers that have been linked to the Twins (to some degree) over the last month. Ken Rosenthal (The Athletic) asked if the Twins should have jumped on relievers sooner? And from our Forums, USA Chief writes an embattled plea to the Twins front office to make a move to help this Twins bullpen, and soon! Also in our Forums, there are threads dedicated to Noah Syndergaard and Matthew Boyd. On his most recent episode of The Scoops podcast, Darren Wolfson chatted with Trevor Hildenberger. As it relates to the trade deadline, he also spoke with Twins CBO Derek Falvey. Listen here. Over the next week, we will provide a daily Trade Deadline thread in which we will discuss a topic briefly and provide some of the day’s rumors. Use this thread to discuss Twins rumors. Obviously if and when the Twins make a move, we will have an article ready to discuss that, but this should be a fun gathering ground for Twins rumors. If you see a Twins rumor, post it in the comments. Otherwise, let’s discuss. This is a big week for the 2019 Twins.
  19. Over the next couple of weeks, Twins fans are going to be checking their phones and waiting for a notification. Did the club acquire a front-line starting pitcher? Could a bullpen arm or two be on the way to the Twin Cities? Even with one of baseball’s best records, Minnesota’s roster has some holes. When you look at your phone on July 31, what would be the perfect trade deadline scenario?Deadline Blueprint With one of the baseball’s best offenses, it makes sense for the Twins to focus on adding pitching before the deadline. Minnesota’s most glaring need is the bullpen. Taylor Rogers might be the AL’s most valuable reliever, but he won’t be able to pitch every postseason inning. Ryne Harper, Tyler Duffey and Zach Littell have been more than serviceable, but they might be better suited for pitching the middle innings. Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi have been leading the pitching staff, while the rest of the rotation has fit into their roles nicely. Kyle Gibson and Martin Perez have had some up and down moments throughout the year. Michael Pineda has provided an upgrade over recent fifth starters. Would you trust one of these pitchers to face the Yankees or Astros line-up in the ALDS? Ideally, the Twins would add two relief arms and a starter before the calendar turns to August. Bullpen In a perfect world, the Twins would be able to add both a right- and left-handed reliever to assist Rogers in his late inning role. There are some internal options for the Twins including two left-handed pitchers that are already on the 40-man roster. Both players would be unknowns in a relief role, so it makes sense to find someone with some experience if the price in prospects isn’t too steep. When it comes to left-handed relievers, Will Smith is the name on everyone’s list. He is currently being used as the Giants closer, but his cost might be slightly lower since he is a free agent after the season. John projected a package of Kohl Stewart and Edwar Colina for Smith. If that’s the deal on the table, I pull the trigger. For Ron Gardenhire and the Tigers, there have been few bright spots this year. However, Shane Greene has been one of the team’s best players. In 2018, he struggled in his first chance being the full-time closer. He posted a 5.12 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP with a 65 to 19 strikeout to walk ratio. For how bad he was last season, he has done a complete 180 this year. He has a microscopic 1.06 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP with 35 strikeouts and 10 walks. He’s also under team control through 2020. Starting Pitching There’s been lots of talk about Madison Bumgarner since he is a pending free agent and the Giants are likely to be sellers. One must wonder what version of Madison Bumgarner a club would receive in a trade. He’s been a World Series hero but that was half a decade ago. This season he has posted a 3.86 ERA with a 1.21 WHIP to go along with 121 strikeouts in 116 2/3 innings. Another thing to consider is Bumgarner has a lot of miles on his arm with 1755 big league innings over the last 11 seasons. Toronto’s Marcus Stroman is another potential trade target and he is younger than Bumgarner. So far this season, he has a 3.25 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP. He has 88 strikeouts in 110 2/3 innings, so Bumgarner has him beat in that category. Stroman has another year of team control as the 2020 season will be his final year of arbitration eligibility. Both above-mentioned pitchers could help the club, but I’d rather the team target Arizona’s Zack Greinke, even if he has a no-trade clause that includes the Twins. There are a few reasons I’d rather the team go after a 35-year old pitcher with a big contract. First, it would likely take fewer high-ranking prospects to acquire Greinke because of his large contract. Greinke has been very good this year with a 2.95 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP. Minnesota has the financial flexibility in the years ahead to absorb the Greinke contract. Plus, three of the Twins current starters will be free agents following the World Series. Greinke could fit in at the top of the rotation with Berrios for the next handful of seasons. If he isn’t still an ace in 2021, the Twins could still fit him in some part of their rotation. Greinke, Smith, and Greene put the Twins in better position to win October games. Who would be part of your perfect trade deadline for the Twins? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. Other Stories of Interest Internal Relief Help Could Provide Second Half Upgrade Arraez is What Minnesota Has Craved Twins Trade Rumors Roundup: Teams Pondering Selling Click here to view the article
  20. Deadline Blueprint With one of the baseball’s best offenses, it makes sense for the Twins to focus on adding pitching before the deadline. Minnesota’s most glaring need is the bullpen. Taylor Rogers might be the AL’s most valuable reliever, but he won’t be able to pitch every postseason inning. Ryne Harper, Tyler Duffey and Zach Littell have been more than serviceable, but they might be better suited for pitching the middle innings. Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi have been leading the pitching staff, while the rest of the rotation has fit into their roles nicely. Kyle Gibson and Martin Perez have had some up and down moments throughout the year. Michael Pineda has provided an upgrade over recent fifth starters. Would you trust one of these pitchers to face the Yankees or Astros line-up in the ALDS? Ideally, the Twins would add two relief arms and a starter before the calendar turns to August. Bullpen In a perfect world, the Twins would be able to add both a right- and left-handed reliever to assist Rogers in his late inning role. There are some internal options for the Twins including two left-handed pitchers that are already on the 40-man roster. Both players would be unknowns in a relief role, so it makes sense to find someone with some experience if the price in prospects isn’t too steep. When it comes to left-handed relievers, Will Smith is the name on everyone’s list. He is currently being used as the Giants closer, but his cost might be slightly lower since he is a free agent after the season. John projected a package of Kohl Stewart and Edwar Colina for Smith. If that’s the deal on the table, I pull the trigger. For Ron Gardenhire and the Tigers, there have been few bright spots this year. However, Shane Greene has been one of the team’s best players. In 2018, he struggled in his first chance being the full-time closer. He posted a 5.12 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP with a 65 to 19 strikeout to walk ratio. For how bad he was last season, he has done a complete 180 this year. He has a microscopic 1.06 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP with 35 strikeouts and 10 walks. He’s also under team control through 2020. Starting Pitching There’s been lots of talk about Madison Bumgarner since he is a pending free agent and the Giants are likely to be sellers. One must wonder what version of Madison Bumgarner a club would receive in a trade. He’s been a World Series hero but that was half a decade ago. This season he has posted a 3.86 ERA with a 1.21 WHIP to go along with 121 strikeouts in 116 2/3 innings. Another thing to consider is Bumgarner has a lot of miles on his arm with 1755 big league innings over the last 11 seasons. Toronto’s Marcus Stroman is another potential trade target and he is younger than Bumgarner. So far this season, he has a 3.25 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP. He has 88 strikeouts in 110 2/3 innings, so Bumgarner has him beat in that category. Stroman has another year of team control as the 2020 season will be his final year of arbitration eligibility. Both above-mentioned pitchers could help the club, but I’d rather the team target Arizona’s Zack Greinke, even if he has a no-trade clause that includes the Twins. There are a few reasons I’d rather the team go after a 35-year old pitcher with a big contract. First, it would likely take fewer high-ranking prospects to acquire Greinke because of his large contract. Greinke has been very good this year with a 2.95 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP. Minnesota has the financial flexibility in the years ahead to absorb the Greinke contract. Plus, three of the Twins current starters will be free agents following the World Series. Greinke could fit in at the top of the rotation with Berrios for the next handful of seasons. If he isn’t still an ace in 2021, the Twins could still fit him in some part of their rotation. Greinke, Smith, and Greene put the Twins in better position to win October games. Who would be part of your perfect trade deadline for the Twins? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. Other Stories of Interest Internal Relief Help Could Provide Second Half Upgrade Arraez is What Minnesota Has Craved Twins Trade Rumors Roundup: Teams Pondering Selling
  21. At this point the Minnesota Twins are undoubtedly amping up their efforts to acquire big league assets for the stretch run and Postseason. I've been on record multiple times suggesting I'd like to see at least to moves made, and a starter coming more as a luxury. Unless the starting pitcher is under team control, go big on expiring relief help and call it a day. The most realistic name I'm intrigued by in that vein is Marcus Stroman. So, how does Derek Falvey pry him away from the Toronto Blue Jays? Although the idea of acquiring Stroman is significantly more enticing than grabbing a rental like Madison Bumgarner, the cost will also represent a more substantial amount. I'd hope that Minnesota could go into talks with the idea that Royce Lewis, Alex Kirilloff, and Brusdar Graterol are all off limits. Understanding that may not be completely realistic we'll progress with two different possibilities. Option A: Minnesota Twins acquire SP Marcus Stroman and RP Ken Giles. Toronto Blue Jays acquire OF Brent Rooker, SS Wander Javier, RHP Jorge Alcala, and OF Akil Baddoo Something like this is where Minnesota should want to be. I'm not certain that this will be enough for Toronto to pull the trigger, but there's two legitimate top 10 prospects from a very good system included here. Trevor Larnach could be swapped out for Rooker depending on preference, and any number of similar prospects could be had in the place of Baddoo. Hanging on to the top trio will cost more bodies, and there would likely be a larger premium placed on the secondary additions in this case. Option B: Minnesota Twins acquire SP Marcus Stroman and RP Ken Giles. Toronto Blue Jays acquire RHP Brusdar Graterol, INF Travis Blankenhorn, and RHP Edwar Colina. If Minnesota is willing to part with any bit of that top trio then it should be the only player in their top 10 necessary of inclusion. Graterol could draw skepticism from opposing teams as he's currently dealing with a shoulder injury, and there still remains a possibility he winds up in the bullpen. I'd hesitate a significant amount if the ask is to swap him out for Kirilloff, but that could be the cost of doing business. Reality is that the Twins haven't had a perfect storm like this in quite some time. This club needs a big boost down for the stretch run, and they are well positioned to make serious Postseason noise. On top of that, they have legitimate openings going into next season and a controllable starter like Stroman isn't just a short term play. Signing big ticket free agents hasn't always been the optimal path to roster construction, and it's one the Twins have avoided as recent as this season. There will be a 40 man roster crunch coming, and a 25 man shakedown beyond that. Hording prospects is a good thing, but realizing some are best utilized as moveable assets, and which ones specifically, is part of what makes a good front office. Things are about to get very interesting in Twins Territory over the next few weeks. Whether on the field or in the back office, you won't want to look away. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  22. Looking at how well the lineup has performed, and the depth that should be available to keep a long and dismal slump at bay, pitching is where Minnesota can look to improve. The starting rotation went into the year with a clear ace, but the performances from Martin Perez and Jake Odorizzi have been a welcomed addition. Michael Pineda doesn’t look like a great bet at this point however, and the 5th turn in the rotation could be expanded upon. In the bullpen Minnesota left themselves open to plenty of criticism. Banking on unknown commodities such as Matt Magill and Ryne Harper, while hanging onto a miscast starter in Adalberto Mejia, there was plenty to worry about. The back end of the pen has been solid, and really the group has stayed afloat. Bringing in a high-level arm that can push everyone down a notch would only strengthen the unit. On the starting front, here’s who some of those names may be: Marcus Stroman- Blue Jays 28 years old FA 2021 I’ve been crushing on Stroman’s numbers for years now. He’s routinely put up better peripherals than the ERA suggests, and he’s a guy that’s previously performed at a very high level. Under team control for another season he won’t come cheap, but it’d be in the Blue Jays best interests to move him sooner rather than later. On the season he owns a 2.96 ERA with a 3.09 FIP. His ERA+ sits at 145, or exactly where it was when he finished 8th in Cy Young voting during 2017. Madison Bumgarner- Giants 29 years old FA 2020 It’s crazy to think Bumgarner is just 29 (almost 30) given how long he’s been around. He’s approaching 2,000 big league innings but pitched at least 200 innings every year from 2011-2016. The velocity has remained consistent over the past four seasons, and his track record speaks for itself. The Giants ace is amid his best season since 2016 and would slot in nicely behind Jose Berrios. Given his impending free agency, this could be a situation in which the Twins operate on a try before you buy model. Miguel Sano to the National League is questionable, but a straight up swap may be enticing for Minnesota. Mike Minor- Rangers 31 years old FA 2021 The least of the options on this list, Minor has plenty of intrigue in his own right. He’s coming off a mediocre 2018, but his 2019 has seen a nice resurgence. Minor has jumped his whiff rate roughly 2% from 2018, and it’s come on the heels of a career high in changeup usage. Being under team control for another year, he’ll cost a bit more than his numbers may warrant, but as a stabilizing force to round out the rotation he has some appeal. Relief help has some interesting names as well: Craig Kimbrel- 31 years old Unsigned At this point Kimbrel won’t be signed until after the June amateur draft. Without being tied to pick compensation, he may find suitors offering both long-term and one-year pacts. Kimbrel is arguably the best closer in the game, and while he’ll need some ramp up time, he’s coming off a 2.74 ERA and 13.9 K/9 season. Sure, he had some blowups in the postseason, and if you’d like to nitpick, there’re warts here. At the end of the day though, this is an elite talent that costs a team nothing but cash to acquire. Ken Giles- Blue Jays 28 years old FA 2021 Here’s another guy from Toronto and still under team control for another season. Giles comes with personality questions, as the Houston Astros shipped him out growing tired of his inconsistencies on and off the mound. He’s already on his third big league team, and despite being ultra-talented, he’s proven to be expandable. If that can be vetted out, the Blue Jays are offering a reliever with a 1.65 ERA 1.79 FIP, and 13.8 K/9. Walks have never been much of a problem, strikeouts are aplenty, and velocity is through the roof. He can operate as a closer or setup man, and that would give the Twins some flexibility. Sean Doolittle- Nationals 32 years old FA 2020 ($6.5MM team option) An unexpected name on this list given where the Nationals assumed they’d be this season. The reality is that Davey Martinez hasn’t done well taking over for Dusty Baker, and the team is a mess. For the opposition, a guy like Doolittle becoming available would be a massive boost. He’s been one of the best relievers in baseball for nearly a decade, and his numbers in 2019 are equally eye-popping. A lefty with strong strikeout stuff, he’s not a platoon pitcher, and Baldelli could use another Taylor Rogers type in relief. When it comes to execution on any deals they’ll do, the Twins have some very different options to consider. Miguel Sano could establish himself as an expandable, and valuable piece. They have prospect capital behind the untouchables of Royce Lewis, Alex Kirilloff, and Brusdar Graterol. There’s also no reason to believe this club is cash poor, and simply doling out money is a possibility as well. If it’s up to me, I’d prefer to see Minnesota land a starter they believe can help them in 2019 and beyond. Someone that slides in at the middle of the rotation or higher, and will be around for another run, is a guy I’d give up some pieces for. In relief, choosing the cash route on Kimbrel makes the most sense. I’m not sure you want to part with assets in both areas, but it depends on the names you’d have to give up. We’re at least a month out from some of these deals potentially coming to fruition, but you can bet plans are in place to make sure the decision is a clear one when the time comes.
  23. It’s early May but we’re well beyond the point of still categorizing the results as being reflective of a small sample size. Right now, the Twins own the best record in baseball, the lineup has thump throughout, and the pitching staff is performing at a clip few could’ve seen coming. As good teams do, and Minnesota has not recently been in position to experience, adding big league talent for the stretch run is a must. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine will have options, but where do they turn?Looking at how well the lineup has performed, and the depth that should be available to keep a long and dismal slump at bay, pitching is where Minnesota can look to improve. The starting rotation went into the year with a clear ace, but the performances from Martin Perez and Jake Odorizzi have been a welcomed addition. Michael Pineda doesn’t look like a great bet at this point however, and the 5th turn in the rotation could be expanded upon. In the bullpen Minnesota left themselves open to plenty of criticism. Banking on unknown commodities such as Matt Magill and Ryne Harper, while hanging onto a miscast starter in Adalberto Mejia, there was plenty to worry about. The back end of the pen has been solid, and really the group has stayed afloat. Bringing in a high-level arm that can push everyone down a notch would only strengthen the unit. On the starting front, here’s who some of those names may be: Marcus Stroman- Blue Jays 28 years old FA 2021 I’ve been crushing on Stroman’s numbers for years now. He’s routinely put up better peripherals than the ERA suggests, and he’s a guy that’s previously performed at a very high level. Under team control for another season he won’t come cheap, but it’d be in the Blue Jays best interests to move him sooner rather than later. On the season he owns a 2.96 ERA with a 3.09 FIP. His ERA+ sits at 145, or exactly where it was when he finished 8th in Cy Young voting during 2017. Madison Bumgarner- Giants 29 years old FA 2020 It’s crazy to think Bumgarner is just 29 (almost 30) given how long he’s been around. He’s approaching 2,000 big league innings but pitched at least 200 innings every year from 2011-2016. The velocity has remained consistent over the past four seasons, and his track record speaks for itself. The Giants ace is amid his best season since 2016 and would slot in nicely behind Jose Berrios. Given his impending free agency, this could be a situation in which the Twins operate on a try before you buy model. Miguel Sano to the National League is questionable, but a straight up swap may be enticing for Minnesota. Mike Minor- Rangers 31 years old FA 2021 The least of the options on this list, Minor has plenty of intrigue in his own right. He’s coming off a mediocre 2018, but his 2019 has seen a nice resurgence. Minor has jumped his whiff rate roughly 2% from 2018, and it’s come on the heels of a career high in changeup usage. Being under team control for another year, he’ll cost a bit more than his numbers may warrant, but as a stabilizing force to round out the rotation he has some appeal. Relief help has some interesting names as well: Craig Kimbrel- 31 years old Unsigned At this point Kimbrel won’t be signed until after the June amateur draft. Without being tied to pick compensation, he may find suitors offering both long-term and one-year pacts. Kimbrel is arguably the best closer in the game, and while he’ll need some ramp up time, he’s coming off a 2.74 ERA and 13.9 K/9 season. Sure, he had some blowups in the postseason, and if you’d like to nitpick, there’re warts here. At the end of the day though, this is an elite talent that costs a team nothing but cash to acquire. Ken Giles- Blue Jays 28 years old FA 2021 Here’s another guy from Toronto and still under team control for another season. Giles comes with personality questions, as the Houston Astros shipped him out growing tired of his inconsistencies on and off the mound. He’s already on his third big league team, and despite being ultra-talented, he’s proven to be expandable. If that can be vetted out, the Blue Jays are offering a reliever with a 1.65 ERA 1.79 FIP, and 13.8 K/9. Walks have never been much of a problem, strikeouts are aplenty, and velocity is through the roof. He can operate as a closer or setup man, and that would give the Twins some flexibility. Sean Doolittle- Nationals 32 years old FA 2020 ($6.5MM team option) An unexpected name on this list given where the Nationals assumed they’d be this season. The reality is that Davey Martinez hasn’t done well taking over for Dusty Baker, and the team is a mess. For the opposition, a guy like Doolittle becoming available would be a massive boost. He’s been one of the best relievers in baseball for nearly a decade, and his numbers in 2019 are equally eye-popping. A lefty with strong strikeout stuff, he’s not a platoon pitcher, and Baldelli could use another Taylor Rogers type in relief. When it comes to execution on any deals they’ll do, the Twins have some very different options to consider. Miguel Sano could establish himself as an expandable, and valuable piece. They have prospect capital behind the untouchables of Royce Lewis, Alex Kirilloff, and Brusdar Graterol. There’s also no reason to believe this club is cash poor, and simply doling out money is a possibility as well. If it’s up to me, I’d prefer to see Minnesota land a starter they believe can help them in 2019 and beyond. Someone that slides in at the middle of the rotation or higher, and will be around for another run, is a guy I’d give up some pieces for. In relief, choosing the cash route on Kimbrel makes the most sense. I’m not sure you want to part with assets in both areas, but it depends on the names you’d have to give up. We’re at least a month out from some of these deals potentially coming to fruition, but you can bet plans are in place to make sure the decision is a clear one when the time comes. Click here to view the article
  24. A lot has changed in a week. The Twins made a trade. And the Twins have fallen in the races for the American League Central and for the wild card. The team is now under .500 after a tough series, getting swept in Los Angeles, coupled with great play from Cleveland and Kansas City. They are 5.5 games back of Cleveland now, and four games behind second-place Kansas City. They are also four games back of Kansas City for the second wild card spot. The Rays are in between. The Twins are not out of it, but man, in one week they have gone from buyer to potentially selling.After reviewing the National League teams last week, Nick reviewed the AL West teams yesterday. STANDINGS Boston Red Sox 56-47 New York Yankees 53-46 1.0 GB Tampa Bay Rays 53-49 2.5 GB Baltimore Orioles 48-53 7.0 GB Toronto Blue Jays 47-54 8.0 GB The Yankees are currently sitting in the first of two wild card positions, a half-game ahead of the Royals. The Rays are a half-game out of the second wild card spot. The Orioles are 4.5 games back, and the Blue Jays are 6.5 games back. THE BUYERS Unlike other divisions that we have highlighted, the AL East has three of their five teams which could fit into the buyers’ category. The Red Sox are already making moves. They released Pablo Sandoval, eating millions upon millions of dollars in salary. They called up top prospect Rafael Devers, and they traded a couple of prospects for former Twins infielder Eduardo Nunez. Last week, the Yankees made a big move, adding third baseman Todd Frazier and closer David Robertson from the White Sox. They are believed to be in serious talks with the A’s regarding Sonny Gray. The Rays don’t have the economic means to compete with the Red Sox and Yankees for high-priced talent, but they’ll certainly be on the phone a lot over the rest of the week. Also noteworthy, any rumors (real or imagined) a few weeks ago that Chris Archer might be available are certainly untrue now. As the Twins continue to fall behind Cleveland and Kansas City and are further out of the wild card race, the Twins could find interest in the likes of Ervin Santana, Brandon Kintzler and even Jaime Garcia in the AL East. THE SELLERS That leaves two teams that should fit into the sellers category, the Baltimore Orioles and the Toronto Blue Jays. The Orioles That the Orioles are only a handful of games under .500 is pretty impressive when you consider their starting pitching. Kevin Gausman is 7-7 with a 5.79 ERA and a 1.72 WHIP.Wade Miley is 4-9 with a 5.69 ERA and a 1.79 WHIP.Ubaldo Jimenez is 4-6 with a 7.19 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP.Chris Tillman is 1-5 with a 7.01 ERA and a 1.94 WHIP.My guess is any of those pitchers would be available. Gausman, the #3 overall pick in the 2012 draft, would cost quite a bit and he would be intriguing in the long-term. The other three could be had for very little. The Orioles do have a couple of intriguing relievers. 31-year-old Brad Brach has been very good in the late innings. In 43.1 innings, he has a 2.70 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP. He’s got 46 strikeouts over 43.1 innings. Side-winding Darren O’Day is also likely available. Though he’s posting a 4.67 ERA over 34.2 innings, he has 43 strikeouts. Zach Britton has missed most of the season. He was the best reliever in baseball a year ago, but he’s only had limited time since returning and hasn’t yet returned to dominance. The Blue Jays The Jays got off to a terrible start. Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitski have missed significant time with injury. They lost Edwin Encarnacion to Cleveland and Jose Bautista got off to a miserable start. Bautista might be of interest since he’s come on a bit and his contract is up after the season. The name that Toronto should be throwing out is 1B Justin Smoak who, frankly, hasn’t been very good until this year when he has become a huge power hitter. Sell high. As it relates to the Twins and their need for pitching, the Jays probably aren’t a likely partner. They do, however, have Marcus Stroman who is one of those pitchers that has incredible talent and years of team control remaining. He’s the kind of guy that a team will be willing to give up a lot for, a couple of high-ranking prospects and more. Francisco Liriano hasn’t been particularly good (5.99 ERA, 1.67 WHIP), but he’s rumored to be of interest for the Royals. Marco Estrada (4-7, 5.52 ERA, 1.49 WHIP) does have 118 strikeouts in 109.1 innings. He could be intriguing. J.A. Happ is 3-7 with a 4.13 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. He’s pretty Jaime Garcia-like. SUMMARY As noted, the Twins have gone from buyer to we’ll-see, and there’s a chance they could be sellers by the deadline on Monday. That change likely means that Derek Falvey and Thad Levine will not go overboard in terms of what they’d be willing to give up right now. However, if they still are buyers, there are some players, particularly a few bullpen guys, who the Twins could have some interest in acquiring. Click here to view the article
  25. After reviewing the National League teams last week, Nick reviewed the AL West teams yesterday. STANDINGS Boston Red Sox 56-47 New York Yankees 53-46 1.0 GB Tampa Bay Rays 53-49 2.5 GB Baltimore Orioles 48-53 7.0 GB Toronto Blue Jays 47-54 8.0 GB The Yankees are currently sitting in the first of two wild card positions, a half-game ahead of the Royals. The Rays are a half-game out of the second wild card spot. The Orioles are 4.5 games back, and the Blue Jays are 6.5 games back. THE BUYERS Unlike other divisions that we have highlighted, the AL East has three of their five teams which could fit into the buyers’ category. The Red Sox are already making moves. They released Pablo Sandoval, eating millions upon millions of dollars in salary. They called up top prospect Rafael Devers, and they traded a couple of prospects for former Twins infielder Eduardo Nunez. Last week, the Yankees made a big move, adding third baseman Todd Frazier and closer David Robertson from the White Sox. They are believed to be in serious talks with the A’s regarding Sonny Gray. The Rays don’t have the economic means to compete with the Red Sox and Yankees for high-priced talent, but they’ll certainly be on the phone a lot over the rest of the week. Also noteworthy, any rumors (real or imagined) a few weeks ago that Chris Archer might be available are certainly untrue now. As the Twins continue to fall behind Cleveland and Kansas City and are further out of the wild card race, the Twins could find interest in the likes of Ervin Santana, Brandon Kintzler and even Jaime Garcia in the AL East. THE SELLERS That leaves two teams that should fit into the sellers category, the Baltimore Orioles and the Toronto Blue Jays. The Orioles That the Orioles are only a handful of games under .500 is pretty impressive when you consider their starting pitching. Kevin Gausman is 7-7 with a 5.79 ERA and a 1.72 WHIP. Wade Miley is 4-9 with a 5.69 ERA and a 1.79 WHIP. Ubaldo Jimenez is 4-6 with a 7.19 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP. Chris Tillman is 1-5 with a 7.01 ERA and a 1.94 WHIP. My guess is any of those pitchers would be available. Gausman, the #3 overall pick in the 2012 draft, would cost quite a bit and he would be intriguing in the long-term. The other three could be had for very little. The Orioles do have a couple of intriguing relievers. 31-year-old Brad Brach has been very good in the late innings. In 43.1 innings, he has a 2.70 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP. He’s got 46 strikeouts over 43.1 innings. Side-winding Darren O’Day is also likely available. Though he’s posting a 4.67 ERA over 34.2 innings, he has 43 strikeouts. Zach Britton has missed most of the season. He was the best reliever in baseball a year ago, but he’s only had limited time since returning and hasn’t yet returned to dominance. The Blue Jays The Jays got off to a terrible start. Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitski have missed significant time with injury. They lost Edwin Encarnacion to Cleveland and Jose Bautista got off to a miserable start. Bautista might be of interest since he’s come on a bit and his contract is up after the season. The name that Toronto should be throwing out is 1B Justin Smoak who, frankly, hasn’t been very good until this year when he has become a huge power hitter. Sell high. As it relates to the Twins and their need for pitching, the Jays probably aren’t a likely partner. They do, however, have Marcus Stroman who is one of those pitchers that has incredible talent and years of team control remaining. He’s the kind of guy that a team will be willing to give up a lot for, a couple of high-ranking prospects and more. Francisco Liriano hasn’t been particularly good (5.99 ERA, 1.67 WHIP), but he’s rumored to be of interest for the Royals. Marco Estrada (4-7, 5.52 ERA, 1.49 WHIP) does have 118 strikeouts in 109.1 innings. He could be intriguing. J.A. Happ is 3-7 with a 4.13 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. He’s pretty Jaime Garcia-like. SUMMARY As noted, the Twins have gone from buyer to we’ll-see, and there’s a chance they could be sellers by the deadline on Monday. That change likely means that Derek Falvey and Thad Levine will not go overboard in terms of what they’d be willing to give up right now. However, if they still are buyers, there are some players, particularly a few bullpen guys, who the Twins could have some interest in acquiring.
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