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  1. The Minnesota Twins need to address the bullpen at the MLB trade deadline. What kind of a trade can they make? The Chicago Cubs have a few attractive relief arms but expect there to be plenty of competition. We may see more demand than supply when it comes to bullpen pieces this deadline. MLB.com writers put together a mock trade that has both David Roberston and Scott Effross coming to Minnesota but the price is high. Let me know what you think about this deal. View full video
  2. The Minnesota Twins need to address the bullpen at the MLB trade deadline. What kind of a trade can they make? The Chicago Cubs have a few attractive relief arms but expect there to be plenty of competition. We may see more demand than supply when it comes to bullpen pieces this deadline. MLB.com writers put together a mock trade that has both David Roberston and Scott Effross coming to Minnesota but the price is high. Let me know what you think about this deal.
  3. Let’s get one thing out of the way immediately: this is not a pre-emptive defense of the team if they fail to make a big splash; anyone who implies so in the comments will have their thinking privileges taken away. Pointing out the challenges of navigating the trade deadline in 2022 is not equal to offering consent for possible inaction. When we speak of trading for a player, it’s easy to allude vaguely to quality players, veterans on poor teams begging to find a more successful franchise to aid with their incredible skills. We look to the Nether, or the Upside-Down, and claim that Capable Reliever is sitting there, moping around on Bad Team, waiting for a Better Franchise to scoop them up. Yes, players like that exist on losing teams, but they must be specifically identified, not nebulously referred to. Finding that player is going to be harder this season; the extra wild card playoff spot ensures that the typical suspects—the Yankees, the Red Sox, and the Dodgers—will have company as teams who otherwise never had a chance—those sitting around .500 looking at the third wild card spot—are now likely to enter the negotiation table as a buyer. It may not seem like a significant calculus change, but 17 teams either claim a playoff spot or sit no further than three games away from one; that’s a lopsided field. At the deadline in 2021, there were only 12 such franchises. Most teams in MLB should legitimately enter into trade negotiations, shooting up the value of the few coveted players on bad teams. It’s double jeopardy; each franchise that doesn’t sell will likely become one to buy. In a pool of 30 teams, each minor shift could drastically alter the deadline’s power balance. The Twins are in a bad spot for another reason: they’re basic. What pieces do they need the most? Starting and relief pitchers. What players do most buyers need every year? Starting and relief pitchers. When 10 teams want Tyler Mahle as well, you will have to part with much better prospects than you anticipated to deal; if the team plays as conservative as they have under this regime at past deadlines, they’ll end up with some bubblegum and a Wade Boggs rookie card. The aforementioned Mahle, Frankie Montas, and Luis Castillo; relievers like David Robertson, Scott Effross, and David Bednar; such players will be involved in enormous bidding wars, more so than usual. The Twins could easily find themselves with S*m D*s*n 2.0 if they are too careful. All of this—the messy trade deadline combined with a team needing reinforcements and a Carlos Correa contract drama that this article didn’t even touch on—must force the Twins’ hand and move them away from conservatism. If they repeat their strategy in 2019 and avoid pushing beyond comfort for the big splash, they’ll have no chance at acquiring the player talent they need; other teams will overwhelm them with competitive offers. Will it happen? The front office proved capable of some genuinely chaotic moves when they dealt their recent first-round pick for Sonny Gray, then shocked baseball by swiping Carlos Correa up in free agency; signing Josh Donaldson and dealing a top prospect in Brusdar Graterol for Kenta Maeda broke the mold as well. They may be working on an absurd deal as we wait. Until that trade bursts through to the public through a Jeff Passan tweet, we can only imagine the deals teams are discussing. The extra few legitimate buyers could alter the negotiations, upsetting the dynamic by limiting who is available to franchises looking to win. The Twins will need to continue acting aggressively, remembering that prospects often bust while flags fly forever.
  4. Recently, there has been one consistent chorus amongst Twins fans, sung with such coordination that they could adequately back up on a Queen track: “when the Twins add at the deadline…” Indeed, even this author has dabbled in assuming this, but finding a proper trade may be a trickier proposition than we think. Let’s get one thing out of the way immediately: this is not a pre-emptive defense of the team if they fail to make a big splash; anyone who implies so in the comments will have their thinking privileges taken away. Pointing out the challenges of navigating the trade deadline in 2022 is not equal to offering consent for possible inaction. When we speak of trading for a player, it’s easy to allude vaguely to quality players, veterans on poor teams begging to find a more successful franchise to aid with their incredible skills. We look to the Nether, or the Upside-Down, and claim that Capable Reliever is sitting there, moping around on Bad Team, waiting for a Better Franchise to scoop them up. Yes, players like that exist on losing teams, but they must be specifically identified, not nebulously referred to. Finding that player is going to be harder this season; the extra wild card playoff spot ensures that the typical suspects—the Yankees, the Red Sox, and the Dodgers—will have company as teams who otherwise never had a chance—those sitting around .500 looking at the third wild card spot—are now likely to enter the negotiation table as a buyer. It may not seem like a significant calculus change, but 17 teams either claim a playoff spot or sit no further than three games away from one; that’s a lopsided field. At the deadline in 2021, there were only 12 such franchises. Most teams in MLB should legitimately enter into trade negotiations, shooting up the value of the few coveted players on bad teams. It’s double jeopardy; each franchise that doesn’t sell will likely become one to buy. In a pool of 30 teams, each minor shift could drastically alter the deadline’s power balance. The Twins are in a bad spot for another reason: they’re basic. What pieces do they need the most? Starting and relief pitchers. What players do most buyers need every year? Starting and relief pitchers. When 10 teams want Tyler Mahle as well, you will have to part with much better prospects than you anticipated to deal; if the team plays as conservative as they have under this regime at past deadlines, they’ll end up with some bubblegum and a Wade Boggs rookie card. The aforementioned Mahle, Frankie Montas, and Luis Castillo; relievers like David Robertson, Scott Effross, and David Bednar; such players will be involved in enormous bidding wars, more so than usual. The Twins could easily find themselves with S*m D*s*n 2.0 if they are too careful. All of this—the messy trade deadline combined with a team needing reinforcements and a Carlos Correa contract drama that this article didn’t even touch on—must force the Twins’ hand and move them away from conservatism. If they repeat their strategy in 2019 and avoid pushing beyond comfort for the big splash, they’ll have no chance at acquiring the player talent they need; other teams will overwhelm them with competitive offers. Will it happen? The front office proved capable of some genuinely chaotic moves when they dealt their recent first-round pick for Sonny Gray, then shocked baseball by swiping Carlos Correa up in free agency; signing Josh Donaldson and dealing a top prospect in Brusdar Graterol for Kenta Maeda broke the mold as well. They may be working on an absurd deal as we wait. Until that trade bursts through to the public through a Jeff Passan tweet, we can only imagine the deals teams are discussing. The extra few legitimate buyers could alter the negotiations, upsetting the dynamic by limiting who is available to franchises looking to win. The Twins will need to continue acting aggressively, remembering that prospects often bust while flags fly forever. View full article
  5. Last week I wrote a Trade Manifesto presenting 49 names that could be a potential fit to the Twins' rosters. Hitters were included, but the analysis focused on pitchers. Rocco Baldelli’s club would benefit from both starting and relief arms, but we’ll start in the bullpen. The 5 Best Hitting Trade Targets The 5 Best Starting Pitching Trade Targets Following Wes Johnson’s departure for LSU, Pete Maki has taken over as pitching coach. We haven’t and won’t see some seismic shift in the relief group, but it’s clear that names like Tyler Duffey and Emilio Pagan have walked a tightrope at times this year. It’s necessary that Minnesota supplements its group and brings in help. Here are the five best names from the Trade Manifesto that they could acquire: Michael Fulmer - Detroit Tigers - 29 yrs old 0.7 fWAR 2.15 ERA 3.12 FIP 8.9 K/9 The former 1st round pick and top prospect has transitioned from the rotation to the bullpen. Over the past two seasons, he’s posted a 2.73 ERA across 99 innings. His 3.36 FIP suggests the ERA is relatively believable. He has a solid 9.3 K/9 in that time, though it has dipped some this season. He’s been incredibly stingy when looking at home run rates, and that’s something that has bit Twins relievers to this point. Fulmer has a solid 2.22 xERA but the 4.25 xFIP could be concerning. He has also had arm issues in the past and his velocity is down a bit from where it was last season. Signed for just $4.95 million this season, he’s a free agent in 2023. Joe Mantiply - Arizona Diamondbacks - 31 yrs old 0.9 fWAR 1.20 ERA 1.92 FIP 8.7 K/9 Mantiply is a well-traveled veteran that didn’t establish himself in the majors until last season with Arizona. Across 39 2/3 innings, he posted a solid 3.40 ERA with even better peripherals. This season he’s substantiated it by performing better. Mantiply owns a 1.75 xERA and a 2.48 xFIP. He rarely serves up a long ball and he’s got a 29/1 K/BB across 30 innings this season. He is one of just three pitchers in the majors yet to allow a barreled ball this season, and he’s been a shining light on an otherwise baseball Diamondbacks ballclub. As a lefty, he could bring an otherwise under-represented handedness to the relief core. Mantiply throws just 90.6 mph with his fastball, just a bit below where he was last season, but he’s a sinker slider pitcher. Mantiply is pre-arbitration and won’t hit the market until 2027. Anthony Bass - Miami Dolphins - 34 yrs old 0.9 fWAR 1.60 ERA 2.34 FIP 8.0 K/9 One of baseball’s more consistent relievers since 2018, Bass has ratcheted up his performance this season for the Marlins. He had a decent year in 2021 but owns a 2.74 xERA and 3.77 xFIP in 2022. He’s giving up a career-low number of free passes and longballs, while also being within a sub-1.000 WHIP for just the second time in his career. Pushing his fastball to 95.1 mph this season, he’s near a career-best in average velocity. Bass dominates with his slider, a pitch that Minnesota loves to use. He’s in the final year of his contract with the Marlins but carries a $3 million team option for 2023. David Bednar - Pittsburgh Pirates - 27 yrs old 1.0 fWAR 2.43 ERA 2.52 FIP 12.2 K/9 The Pittsburgh Pirates have a surprisingly low number of enticing assets despite being a team willing to sell, but that’s what happens when you’re bad. Wil Crowe could be moved from their pen too, but Bednar is the prize. A 2.82 xERA and 2.92 xFIP are both very strong. The strikeout numbers are great, and Bednar allows just a 27.4% hard-hit rate. He averages 97 mph on his fastball and is generating a career-best 15.8% whiff rate. Bednar has been a dominant arm out of the pen for the Pirates each of the past two seasons and has closing experience as well. With youth to his credit and under team control through 2026, he’ll have a higher price tag. Scott Effross - Chicago Cubs - 28 yrs old 1.1 fWAR 2.62 ERA 1.63 FIP 11.5 K/9 After signing Marcus Stroman this winter I’d imagine the Cubs were hoping to be better than this. They aren’t though, and Effross is the gem of the bullpen. Making 14 appearances in 2021, Effross has taken a small sample size and improved upon it. His 2.15 xERA and 2.42 xFIP are both impressive, and he’s avoided damage thanks to a 21.8% hard-hit rate. Effross is not a big velocity guy, averaging just over 90 mph on his fastball, but the sinker slider combo is one the Twins continue to work with. Effross doesn’t get a massive amount of swinging strikes, but he’s generated a good chase rate and is allowing just a 77.5% contact rate. Like Bednar, Effross is younger and remains under team control through 2027. Which reliever would you like to see the Twins trade for and why?
  6. We are officially into trade deadline season and the Minnesota Twins are leading the American League Central Division. It’s all but certain they’ll make additions to a squad they signed Carlos Correa to play for, and the bullpen may be their most integral need. Last week I wrote a Trade Manifesto presenting 49 names that could be a potential fit to the Twins' rosters. Hitters were included, but the analysis focused on pitchers. Rocco Baldelli’s club would benefit from both starting and relief arms, but we’ll start in the bullpen. The 5 Best Hitting Trade Targets The 5 Best Starting Pitching Trade Targets Following Wes Johnson’s departure for LSU, Pete Maki has taken over as pitching coach. We haven’t and won’t see some seismic shift in the relief group, but it’s clear that names like Tyler Duffey and Emilio Pagan have walked a tightrope at times this year. It’s necessary that Minnesota supplements its group and brings in help. Here are the five best names from the Trade Manifesto that they could acquire: Michael Fulmer - Detroit Tigers - 29 yrs old 0.7 fWAR 2.15 ERA 3.12 FIP 8.9 K/9 The former 1st round pick and top prospect has transitioned from the rotation to the bullpen. Over the past two seasons, he’s posted a 2.73 ERA across 99 innings. His 3.36 FIP suggests the ERA is relatively believable. He has a solid 9.3 K/9 in that time, though it has dipped some this season. He’s been incredibly stingy when looking at home run rates, and that’s something that has bit Twins relievers to this point. Fulmer has a solid 2.22 xERA but the 4.25 xFIP could be concerning. He has also had arm issues in the past and his velocity is down a bit from where it was last season. Signed for just $4.95 million this season, he’s a free agent in 2023. Joe Mantiply - Arizona Diamondbacks - 31 yrs old 0.9 fWAR 1.20 ERA 1.92 FIP 8.7 K/9 Mantiply is a well-traveled veteran that didn’t establish himself in the majors until last season with Arizona. Across 39 2/3 innings, he posted a solid 3.40 ERA with even better peripherals. This season he’s substantiated it by performing better. Mantiply owns a 1.75 xERA and a 2.48 xFIP. He rarely serves up a long ball and he’s got a 29/1 K/BB across 30 innings this season. He is one of just three pitchers in the majors yet to allow a barreled ball this season, and he’s been a shining light on an otherwise baseball Diamondbacks ballclub. As a lefty, he could bring an otherwise under-represented handedness to the relief core. Mantiply throws just 90.6 mph with his fastball, just a bit below where he was last season, but he’s a sinker slider pitcher. Mantiply is pre-arbitration and won’t hit the market until 2027. Anthony Bass - Miami Dolphins - 34 yrs old 0.9 fWAR 1.60 ERA 2.34 FIP 8.0 K/9 One of baseball’s more consistent relievers since 2018, Bass has ratcheted up his performance this season for the Marlins. He had a decent year in 2021 but owns a 2.74 xERA and 3.77 xFIP in 2022. He’s giving up a career-low number of free passes and longballs, while also being within a sub-1.000 WHIP for just the second time in his career. Pushing his fastball to 95.1 mph this season, he’s near a career-best in average velocity. Bass dominates with his slider, a pitch that Minnesota loves to use. He’s in the final year of his contract with the Marlins but carries a $3 million team option for 2023. David Bednar - Pittsburgh Pirates - 27 yrs old 1.0 fWAR 2.43 ERA 2.52 FIP 12.2 K/9 The Pittsburgh Pirates have a surprisingly low number of enticing assets despite being a team willing to sell, but that’s what happens when you’re bad. Wil Crowe could be moved from their pen too, but Bednar is the prize. A 2.82 xERA and 2.92 xFIP are both very strong. The strikeout numbers are great, and Bednar allows just a 27.4% hard-hit rate. He averages 97 mph on his fastball and is generating a career-best 15.8% whiff rate. Bednar has been a dominant arm out of the pen for the Pirates each of the past two seasons and has closing experience as well. With youth to his credit and under team control through 2026, he’ll have a higher price tag. Scott Effross - Chicago Cubs - 28 yrs old 1.1 fWAR 2.62 ERA 1.63 FIP 11.5 K/9 After signing Marcus Stroman this winter I’d imagine the Cubs were hoping to be better than this. They aren’t though, and Effross is the gem of the bullpen. Making 14 appearances in 2021, Effross has taken a small sample size and improved upon it. His 2.15 xERA and 2.42 xFIP are both impressive, and he’s avoided damage thanks to a 21.8% hard-hit rate. Effross is not a big velocity guy, averaging just over 90 mph on his fastball, but the sinker slider combo is one the Twins continue to work with. Effross doesn’t get a massive amount of swinging strikes, but he’s generated a good chase rate and is allowing just a 77.5% contact rate. Like Bednar, Effross is younger and remains under team control through 2027. Which reliever would you like to see the Twins trade for and why? View full article
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