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  1. During this year's trade deadline, a lot of Twins fans, myself included, thought it was necessary to add a clear No. 2 starting pitcher behind Jose Berrios to bolster our rotation for the playoffs and next year. Odorizzi since coming back from injury has fallen off of a cliff, Gibson and Perez have also had significant struggles, but Pineda has quietly been very good dating back to the beginning of May. While the concern that there's holes in the rotation stands, the Twins have a 1-2 punch that's rarely faltered. Since the beginning of May: Jose Berrios: 16 Games, 102.1 Innings, 22 BB, 92 K, 10 HR, 2.73 ERA, Opponent OPS .650, 4.18 K/BB Michael Pineda: 15 Games, 88.0 Innings. 17 BB, 81 K, 12 HR, 3.48 ERA, Opponent OPS .671, 4.76 K/BB Mike Minor: 16 Games, 99.1 Innings, 37 BB, 102 K, 15 HR, 3.35 ERA, Opponent OPS .733, 2.76 K/BB Robbie Ray: 17 Games, 96.2 Innings, 41 BB, 136 K, 19 HR, 3.82 ERA, Opponent OPS .765, 3.32 K/BB Kyle Gibson: 17 Games, 88.2 Innings, 25 BB, 94 K, 12 HR, 3.86 ERA, Opponent OPS .719, 3.76 K/BB Above you can see the 3 best starters of late that Twins have and 2 of the starters they were tied closely to at the deadline. Clearly Jose Berrios is the best of the bunch. Things get a little fuzzy when you look at Pineda vs Minor, but I like Pineda's control much more and his ability to hold hitters to a very low OPS, and when you add in that Minor hasn't had a quality start since June, whereas Pineda has had four in that time span, I'd gladly take Pineda. Even when it comes down to Gibby v Ray v Minor, Gibby has the best control and holds hitters to the lowest OPS of the bunch. Now I'm not saying I like Gibby in game 3 of the ALDS against Gerritt Cole, I do like Berrios in game 1 and Pineda in game 2, and well hopefully Odorizzi returns to form, but if not Gibby can hold his own for fiveish innings and then we turn it over to our upgraded bullpen. It wasn't worth it to sell the farm on a guy that might be an improvement over what we already have as our number 3 starter, and certainly not when you hear what kind of packages these teams were hoping for in return. While it certainly would've been nice to add an arm for next year, there will be plenty of FA starters, and Berrios/Pineda/Gibby is just fine for now.
  2. Down in South Beach tonight the Minnesota Twins proved victorious over the hapless Miami Marlins. Sitting at a local brewery for the latest Gleeman and the Geek event, the question was whether or not the away team would cap off the night with a deadline deal. Then it happened, the Cleveland Indians sent Trevor Bauer packing. Much like his heave over the center field wall in Kansas City, Mike Chernoff flipped his pitching asset to the National League. Now, it’s your move Derek Falvey.Seemingly an odd decision for the Indians to move Bauer in hopes of landing immediately usable talent, a situation presented itself in which they were able to do just that. Yasiel Puig comes to Cleveland fresh off a boxing match in Cincinatti, while Franmil Reyes and Logan Allen join from the west coast. The Indians acquire two immediate big league assets at a position of need, and two thirds of the deal brings significant team control. If you’re keeping score at home this one is a big time win for the AL Central division foe. With the ball firmly in Derek Falvey’s court, it’s on the head honcho of the Twins front office to decide what the response looks like. Recent reports suggest Minnesota has bowed out of the starting pitching market, and there’s been ample belief that some of the biggest relief arms are unobtainable. Only touting Sergio Romo to this point, a race again the July 31 3pm CT deadline is officially underway. The Big Guns While Bauer falls in this category he certainly wasn’t a lock to be dealt. Apparently the San Francisco Giants are listening to the Astros on Madison Bumgarner but it’s still undetermined whether the rental swaps teams. Noah Syndergaard turned in an 11 strikeout performance on Tuesday night which suggests that nothing is imminent and that he’s as dominant as ever. Zack Greinke is really the only other pitcher of this ilk and his no-trade clause is going to be a hurdle in almost any negotiations. Dominoes in Relief After the Toronto Blue Jays took pennies on the dollar for starter Marcus Stroman it appeared the market had softened a bit for sellers. Then the Atlanta Braves acquired reliever Chris Martin Tuesday, but it cost them former first round pick, and previous top 25 prospect, Kolby Allard. After a tough, and brief, major league debut last season Allard has spent all of 2019 at Triple-A. He’s just 21 years old and under team control until 2025. That’s an incredibly steep price to pay for a 33-year-old having his first dominant year. The Answer Ahead I don’t know that the Twins will fill all of their current 40 man openings (presently at 37), but there’s zero doubt that a move has to be made. Romo was a nice start, but he seems to represent the floor and is only a single piece for a bullpen that needs to complete a full puzzle. Having been involved on virtually every name the market has flushed out, Falvey and Thad Levine are approaching decision making time. On Wednesday the Twins will need to figure out whether an arm like Edwin Diaz (reportedly an ask of Andrew Benintendi was suggested) or Kirby Yates is the move, or if they can survive with the likes of Daniel Hudson. I’m not sure that either of those avenues are the right answer, with the ideal path lying somewhere inbetween. What certainly can’t happen is that Minnesota whiffs and wastes the opportunity that lies in front of them. The reality is that this is a trade deadline of significant importance for the Minnesota Twins for the first time in nearly a decade. Although it’s understandable to still have a long term vision, nothing is guaranteed and opportunity currently lies in the immediate future. How this front office goes about the next handful of hours will shape 2019 and beyond, but it will also be a chapter in Twins history that we likely revisit often. How would you go about the next few hours? What are some hopes and expectations for the day? Where do you believe the intentions are for what lies ahead? More From Twins Daily Is Alex Kirilloff Expendable?Reviewing MLBTR’s Top 75 Trade CandidatesWhat If The Twins Don't Go Big This Year?Deadline Rewind: A Progress Report on the Twins 2018 Trade Deadline AdditionsTwins Trade Deadline: Final TouchesTwins Moving on From SP Trade Targets?What Sergio Romo Brings to the Twins BullpenCould the Twins Afford to Take on Zack Greinke’s Contract?Trade Deadline Thread: The Rumor Mill is Working OvertimeTrade Deadline Topics: Prospects, Scouting, RumorsTrade Deadline Thread: What To Do About the Rotation?The Gauntlet 1.2; A Complete Breakdown of the Top Relief ArmsFor Enlow and Other Minor Leaguers, “No One Is Safe” At Trade DeadlineJeremy's Deadline SeriesLet's Make A Deal, Part VI: GM For A DeadlineLet's Make A Deal, Part V: Are We Getting Noah Syndergaard or Someone Else?Let's Make A Deal, Part IV: The SellersLet's Make A Deal, Part III: The AmmunitionLet's Make A Deal, Part II: PayrollLet's Make A Deal, Part I: 2020 Click here to view the article
  3. Seemingly an odd decision for the Indians to move Bauer in hopes of landing immediately usable talent, a situation presented itself in which they were able to do just that. Yasiel Puig comes to Cleveland fresh off a boxing match in Cincinatti, while Franmil Reyes and Logan Allen join from the west coast. The Indians acquire two immediate big league assets at a position of need, and two thirds of the deal brings significant team control. If you’re keeping score at home this one is a big time win for the AL Central division foe. With the ball firmly in Derek Falvey’s court, it’s on the head honcho of the Twins front office to decide what the response looks like. Recent reports suggest Minnesota has bowed out of the starting pitching market, and there’s been ample belief that some of the biggest relief arms are unobtainable. Only touting Sergio Romo to this point, a race again the July 31 3pm CT deadline is officially underway. The Big Guns While Bauer falls in this category he certainly wasn’t a lock to be dealt. Apparently the San Francisco Giants are listening to the Astros on Madison Bumgarner but it’s still undetermined whether the rental swaps teams. Noah Syndergaard turned in an 11 strikeout performance on Tuesday night which suggests that nothing is imminent and that he’s as dominant as ever. Zack Greinke is really the only other pitcher of this ilk and his no-trade clause is going to be a hurdle in almost any negotiations. https://twitter.com/TBrownYahoo/status/1156257320659066880 Dominoes in Relief After the Toronto Blue Jays took pennies on the dollar for starter Marcus Stroman it appeared the market had softened a bit for sellers. Then the Atlanta Braves acquired reliever Chris Martin Tuesday, but it cost them former first round pick, and previous top 25 prospect, Kolby Allard. After a tough, and brief, major league debut last season Allard has spent all of 2019 at Triple-A. He’s just 21 years old and under team control until 2025. That’s an incredibly steep price to pay for a 33-year-old having his first dominant year. https://twitter.com/Ken_Rosenthal/status/1156369227533570048 The Answer Ahead I don’t know that the Twins will fill all of their current 40 man openings (presently at 37), but there’s zero doubt that a move has to be made. Romo was a nice start, but he seems to represent the floor and is only a single piece for a bullpen that needs to complete a full puzzle. Having been involved on virtually every name the market has flushed out, Falvey and Thad Levine are approaching decision making time. On Wednesday the Twins will need to figure out whether an arm like Edwin Diaz (reportedly an ask of Andrew Benintendi was suggested) or Kirby Yates is the move, or if they can survive with the likes of Daniel Hudson. I’m not sure that either of those avenues are the right answer, with the ideal path lying somewhere inbetween. What certainly can’t happen is that Minnesota whiffs and wastes the opportunity that lies in front of them. The reality is that this is a trade deadline of significant importance for the Minnesota Twins for the first time in nearly a decade. Although it’s understandable to still have a long term vision, nothing is guaranteed and opportunity currently lies in the immediate future. How this front office goes about the next handful of hours will shape 2019 and beyond, but it will also be a chapter in Twins history that we likely revisit often. How would you go about the next few hours? What are some hopes and expectations for the day? Where do you believe the intentions are for what lies ahead? More From Twins Daily Is Alex Kirilloff Expendable? Reviewing MLBTR’s Top 75 Trade Candidates What If The Twins Don't Go Big This Year? Deadline Rewind: A Progress Report on the Twins 2018 Trade Deadline Additions Twins Trade Deadline: Final Touches Twins Moving on From SP Trade Targets? What Sergio Romo Brings to the Twins Bullpen Could the Twins Afford to Take on Zack Greinke’s Contract? Trade Deadline Thread: The Rumor Mill is Working Overtime Trade Deadline Topics: Prospects, Scouting, Rumors Trade Deadline Thread: What To Do About the Rotation? The Gauntlet 1.2; A Complete Breakdown of the Top Relief Arms For Enlow and Other Minor Leaguers, “No One Is Safe” At Trade Deadline Jeremy's Deadline Series Let's Make A Deal, Part VI: GM For A Deadline Let's Make A Deal, Part V: Are We Getting Noah Syndergaard or Someone Else? Let's Make A Deal, Part IV: The Sellers Let's Make A Deal, Part III: The Ammunition Let's Make A Deal, Part II: Payroll Let's Make A Deal, Part I: 2020
  4. For weeks we’ve heard talk of the big names. Madison Bumgarner, Will Smith, and Noah Syndergaard were all assets expected to be moved at the July 31 trade deadline. Because the Minnesota Twins are one of the best teams in baseball they were consistently linked to the best gets, and so too were every other major market. In the end, that trio went nowhere, but it’s in how Minnesota executed on their moves that makes the maneuvering something to get behind. Without hammering out more thoughts on Sergio Romo, it’s hard to see that move as anything but a come up. I already wrote about the move when it happened over the weekend, but they turned a guy who was going to be lost during the Rule 5 draft into a strong reliever and an equal or better prospect. Knowing the goal was relief help, Derek Falvey struck early on the former Marlins close. As the deadline neared on Tuesday afternoon, apprehension began to set in. Hours faded away, they turned into minutes, and the 3pm CT mark came and went. Then there was a tweet Darren Wolfson sent simply saying, “Stay tuned.” As long as deals are finalized with the league office prior to the cutoff, they go through. Having not yet been reported, Minnesota was in fact making a move. All along it was thought that Smith was the San Francisco Giants reliever on his way out of town. Stringing together some victories of late however, Bruce Bochy’s club is going to make one more run and held onto their top starter and reliever. In doing this, Falvey likely pivoted to what can be argued as a better get. Sam Dyson is a 31-year-old reliever with closing experience. Having familiarity with Thad Levine from his Texas days, Dyson closed out 38 games for the Rangers in 2016. This year he’s posted a 2.47 ERA 2.74 FIP 8.3 K/9 and 1.2 BB/9. He doesn’t still throw upper 90’s like earlier in his career, but he sits in the middle and doesn’t give up free bases. Under team control through next season as well, this move plays into the future. Going into the deadline I opined that the Twins could do no worse than two relievers with a starter pushing someone to the bullpen as gravy. None of the big relief names moved and Dyson represents the best arm to switch teams. Outside of Chris Martin, who is an impending free agent, Romo likely comes in above the rest as well. If you find yourself disappointed that the likes of Thor, MadBum, or Greinke won’t be in the home dugout any time soon I’d like to offer some perspective. First and foremost, neither of the first two players switched teams. The Mets asked for the most important player on the Twins roster in the middle of a season, while the Giants we’re holding a big name with declining performance back for a king’s ransom. Houston did well to land Greinke, and coming in after the buzzer he certainly provided the big bang to end the day. The former Diamondbacks starter would’ve been an ideal candidate for Minnesota as adding salary is certainly an avenue they could’ve went down. He would’ve helped to solidify the rotation and also is under contract. He is 35-years-old though, and most importantly had a full no-trade clause. It was his choice where he went, and that wasn’t here. Almost as what the Twins got at the deadline is what they held onto. With the big names floated for weeks, so two were prospects like Royce Lewis, Alex Kirilloff, Brusdar Graterol, and Trevor Larnach. Falvey added talent in the most necessary part of the roster without giving up a single top 20 prospect. Lewin Diaz was the highest ceiling moved, and he was unquestionably buried behind some better depth. Jaylin Davis is having an incredible 2019, but it’s come out of nowhere and again is in an area of depth. You want to see a team start to push chips in when a window opens, but you must be certain that it isn’t just cracked. The Astros have made waves the last two seasons now in the midst of a third straight 100 win campaign. The Cubs traded Gleyber Torres in a final piece World Series move after winning 97 games the year prior, and are now looking at a fifth straight 90 win campaign. Those types of moves are risky but were beyond substantiated. Minnesota should win 100 games this year but it comes on the heels of a losing season. This core looks the part of a team that should be a Postseason and World Series contender for at least the next five seasons. They have no less than 15 players that are impact talent and will be 32-years-old or under four years from now. Rocco Baldelli’s 25-man roster is good enough right now to beat anyone in the Postseason. In 2020 and beyond, some of the additional depth can be turned into more talent, as the opportunity stays present. To summarize the past few weeks that led up to a frenzied couple of hours today, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine showed poised perfection in how they handled talent acquisition. The big league club got substantially better. The farm system did not get any worse. Sustained winning is still a probable outcome and the team from Twins Territory is as dangerous as it’s ever been. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  5. ANNNND Welcome! To Minnesota Twins Whine Line: John Wick Edition! I am your host for TODAY, Van Wick... One of the most dangerous assassins in the world! You may be asking yourself why someone would out themselves IMMEDIATELY as an assassin, and why I'm talking about the Twins today! Well, my friends, Derek Falvey hired me to do a very specific job after he learned I killed 77 guys because the wrong guy killed my ******* dog, and stole my car. You'll find out what I did to help the team after the intern tells you about the weather. Uhhh, hi! Long time no chat... Wasn't really prepared for this! They're playing with the roof closed right? Hope so! DYNAMITE drop in, bud! If you're reading this, odds are you know how sloooooow and BORING this trade deadline has been for the Twins... That's all been done INTENTIONALLY! Tons of trades were going to happen, but they weren't going to be trading with the Twins! Follow me on my journey "visiting" opposing GM offices... San Francisco Giants HQ: VW: I'm here to see Farhan Zaidi. Receptionist: Okay? And you are? VW: Van Wick... The Boogeyman. You're going to sleep now. Goodbye. *Puts receptionist in sleeper hold... GENTLY* VW: Farhan.... We meet again. Farhan: Van?? How did you get through? Why am I even asking? I could have 750 people outside and you would find a way in. VW: You're not negotiating with Mr. Falvey. That's going to change, today. *Elbows Farhan in ribs. Knocks wind out of him* Farhan: Please!! I have a family to think about. What do you want? VW: I want Bumgarner and Will Smith. Your time to sell is NOW! Farhan: If I accept, will you spare me my life? Van Wick: I will, today. Can't promise you tomorrow. DEAL APPROVED! New York Mets HQ: Van Wick: Brodie, you're a joke. You really thought you could get Byron Buxton for Thor?? Brodie: I'm actually getting intel from your intern... He seems to play a ton of MLB The Show and I don't know what I'm supposed to do here... Van Wick: You INSULTED Mr. Falvey. And you're talking to my intern?!! Now I'm going to embarrass you like the joke you are... * Wrestles Brodie into submission, ties his hands to the desk* Van Wick: I'm going to count to 5, and if you don't approve a trade of Thor for Kirilloff and Duran you're not going to be able to sign anything for the rest of your life. Brodie: Can you at least untie my hand so I can sign it? Van Wick: NO! You're signing this as is. Brodie: Fine... DEAL APPROVED! Detroit Tigers HQ: Gardy: Why did someone leave a DQ blizzard in this cage? Walks into cage Van Wick: You make this too easy, Ron. Gardy: Van? Well gosh, you know my kryptonite is an oreo blizzard. How the hell are ya?! I haven't seen you since we hired you to help us with the AJ Pierzynski trade! Van Wick: Now you work for the enemy, Gardy. I've gotta do something bad to you to intimidate you to act NOW. *Takes DQ Blizzard out of Gardy's hands* Gardy: NOOOOO! I'll do anything! What do you want? Van Wick: Matthew Boyd, and Shane Greene, and Nick Castellanos. Gardy: Is that it? What do I care? This team is going no where. They're all yours. Van Wick: Great! Here's your blizzard back. Gardy: How long will I be stuck in this cage for? ... Van Wick: Haven't thought about it... I guess until the next time Vanimal hosts a game thread. Gardy: Ah, dang it. That could be a while.... eh? Van Wick: Could be, pal. I'd get comfortable just in case. DEAL APPROVED! http://www.thefleamarcat.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/3-4.gif With all of this driving and travel, I ran into an old friend in Grand Forks, ND... And BELIEVE IT or not, he still holds a weekly discussion with a special group of friends! Today’s Joe M Conversation: Maddon: Alright guys, Yoga time. Morgan: C’mon, you’ve got to be kidding me. Maddon: I’m not. Montana: I absolutely hate it when it’s your turn to pick the activities. Maddon: Let’s start with the Bharadvaja’s twist. Morgan: How do you spell that? Maddon: I don’t know, why do you ask? Morgan: I’m not doing it but I want to document the abuse you are putting us through. Maddon: Tuck your left leg under and cross your right leg across your lap. Then slowly twist to the right while placing your left arm behind your back, grabbing the toes on your right leg. McCarthy: I can’t Mauer: Just remove your right leg and it’ll be easier. McCarthy: Thanks that helps. Montana: Joe… Why are we doing this? Maddon: Position Flexibility… it’s very important. Morgan: Here we go again… Position Flexibility... you’ve been talking with Riverbrian. We’ve been through this… he’s insane. Maddon: If you are shallow you don’t need it… but if you are deep… you must be flexible. It’s the trade deadline… teams will be acquiring depth. We must get ready for it. McCarthy: Guys… I’m stuck. Seriously… I can’t move. Maddon: If you have a first basemen who only plays first base and you have a chance to acquire Jose Abreu for a fair price, you can if your first basemen has some positional flexibility. Mauer: Why is everyone looking at me? Let's make a trade TODAY Twins!!! In case if a trade doesn't happen, we wanted to give you PLENTY to think about! If you don't want to think at all.... Well, turn up the tunes, man! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcnHcuXhgvo
  6. Have you missed the earlier parts of this series? Part 1: 2020 Part 2: Payroll Part 3: The Ammunition ********** (Standings are through Saturday night and games backs are for a Wild Card spot.) THE SELLERS: Detroit Tigers (30-70, 26 games back): Expected to be aggressive sellers. SP Matt Boyd, CL Shane Greene and OF Nicholas Castellanos all seem likely to be on the move. While the Twins should show interest in the pitchers, the Tigers don’t seem entirely motivated to trade within the division. Baltimore Orioles (35-69, 23 games back): The Orioles are in the unenviable position of not only being really bad, but also not having many assets to move. OF Trey Mancini would generate interest with multiple years of control let. RP Mychal Givens has had a rough year. They’ve traded Andrew Cashner to Boston already. Kansas City Royals (39-67, 20 games back): Another division foe who possesses trade chips. The Royals have been active early, trading Martin Maldenado to the Cubs and Homer Bailey and Jake Diekman to the A’s in separate deals. INF/OF Whit Merrifield is appealing as a player and has a super team-friendly contract. OF Billy Hamilton still provides speed on the basepaths. (He’d be a perfect August 31 trade target, if that still existed.) SP Danny Duffy and RP Ian Kennedy are attainable and both should have a market. Toronto Blue Jays (40-66, 19 games back): SP Marcus Stroman and RP Ken Giles may be the top (and affordable) SP/RP combo. The Blue Jays are also expected to move 2B Eric Sogard and RP Daniel Hudson. Things will be definitely be busy for the next few days for Toronto, an organization who boasts some of the brightest young talent in the game. Miami Marlins (39-63, 15 games back): After hooking up for the Sergio Romo deal, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot more in terms of trade chips unless Miami is considering shipping out any of their younger talent. Seattle Mariners (45-63, 15 games back): Jerry DiPoto will make moves, this we know. SP Mike Leake appears to be their biggest trade chip, but when it comes to DiPoto, forecasting anything is an act of futility. Chicago White Sox (46-56, 11 games back): The Twins have probably checked in on RP Alex Colome and RP Aaron Bummer. Beyond that, 1B Jose Abreu is the only other player with value they’d consider moving. Pittsburgh Pirates (46-58, 9 games back): Despite being aggressive buyers last season and having a disappointing 2019, the Pirates have an impressive young core to build around. CL Felipe Vasquez and OF Starling Marte could be had, but likely have very high price tags. It’s possible that Pittsburgh could look to flip their two additions from last year: SP Chris Archer and RP Keone Kela, but both would be moved for pennies on the dollar. New York Mets (49-55, 6 games back): SP Noah Syndergaard, SP Zack Wheeler and RP Edwin Diaz are probably the highest-end shopping trio any team has to sell at the deadline. And the Mets are going to want everything in return. Arizona Diamondbacks (53-52, 2.5 games back): Above .500 and great series from being a Wild Card team, they don’t really fit on this list. But all indications are that they are looking to sell. And sell they can. SP Zack Greinke, SP Robbie Ray, CL Greg Holland and RP Archie Bradley have all been rumored to be on the block. If the Diamondbacks do decide to trade their assets, they could definitely restock quickly. Texas Rangers (53-52, 5.5 games back): SP Mike Minor and SP Lance Lynn might not have the star power like the names the Mets have to offer, but the Rangers may very well have the two best (in 2019) pitchers in their stack of chips. Additionally, bounce-back OF/DH Hunter Pence, UTIL Danny Santana and a variety of bullpen arms all make the Rangers an attractive team to potentially do business with. Colorado Rockies (49-56, 6.5 games back): Admittedly haven’t heard much about the Rockies plans this deadline, but their idea a few seasons back to spend heavily on the bullpen didn’t work out. They have high-priced, underachieving relief pitchers they would probably like to part with and it has been reported they’d move OF Charlie Blackmon for the right (big) return. NOT SELLERS (BUT MAYBE SHOULD BE): Cincinnati Reds (47-55, 7 games back): The team has been on record saying they are more likely to add, which sounds like a terrible idea. That stance has softened recently and the teams should listen on offers for SP Tanner Roark, SP Alex Wood, 2B Scooter Gennett, OF Yasiel Puig and CL Raisel Iglesias. San Diego Padres (49-55, 6 games back): Though I don’t necessarily understand the idea of packaging top prospects like 2B Luis Urias and SP Cal Quantrill to get SP Noah Syndergaard when the team is not going to make the playoffs, A.J. Preller is a unique person who has a unique way of doing business. The Padres look like a team that can potentially compete with the Dodgers in the next couple of years and Syndergaard can help do that. So, too, could moving Kirby Yates and one of their young, valuable surplus outfielders (Franmil Reyes or Hunter Renfroe). San Francisco Giants (53-52, 2.5 games back): We’re all familiar with this situation: The Giants are bad and going to blow things up by moving SP Madison Bumgarner and RP Will Smith, along with other trade chips in their very good bullpen. But then they go on a three-week tear and look like the best team in baseball, shifting their focus to looking at ways to supplement what they have to make one last run in future Hall of Famer Bruce Bochy’s career. It's probably a bad idea. Which teams do you hope keep texting Falvey and Levine?
  7. If you're not interested in hearing about all the targets, but you were intrigued - one way or another - by all the talk last night about Ian Kennedy, fast forward to 43:09 where we start talking about how it just makes too much sense to make a deal with the Royals. As always, all of our podcasts are available here or you can download directly from iTunes here.
  8. On Wednesday, a series was introduced that will look at this trade deadline, but from the perspective of next year’s Opening Day. While it wasn’t meant to be a projection - we know that the team is going to make many moves between now and then - it was meant to see how things would look if they didn’t. Some brief conclusions: The lineup should be great. The bench could use some tweaks. The rotation has an engine, but no cars. The bullpen… well, there’s some work to do there. While we looked at how the team could look next year, we neglected to consider a very important part: the financial aspect. From here, we’ll start to narrow in on the deadline that is less than two weeks away: who could go, what teams could sell, what players the Twins could make a move on, and, finally, what I would do if I sat in the GM seat. ---- In regard to payroll, we’re only going to consider the 25-man roster. The same 25-man roster that was presented on Wednesday will be used. (Yes, that means Magill and Duffey instead of Littell and HIldenberger, even though the latter seems to be a more realistic pair to be difference-makers in next year’s bullpen.) (Edit: Magill was DFA'd Thursday afternoon.) Jake Odorizzi, Kyle Gibson, Michael Pineda, Jason Castro and Jonathan Schoop are all free agents, which removes $41,125,000, roughly one third of this season’s payroll. Here’s what we know right now: The Twins are likely, barring something unforeseen, to pick up DH Nelson Cruz’s $12m option. SP Martin Perez also has a team option and based on his innings projection, it will be increasing from $7.5m to $8m. The only players guaranteed a certain amount for next year are UTIL Marwin Gonzalez ($9m), RF Max Kepler ($6.25m) and SS Jorge Polanco ($3.83m). Going through arbitration will be 10 players. All of these figures are rough estimates. In their final years of arbitration are 1B C.J. Cron ($8.5m), RP Blake Parker ($2.7m), bSS Ehire Adrianza ($1.5m) and RP Trevor May ($1.6m), Entering their second-to-last round of arbitration are LF Eddie Rosario ($8.3m) and 3B Miguel Sano ($5.1m). CF Byron Buxton ($5.2m) and RP Taylor Rogers ($3.7m) all got a Super-2 bump last year but will have three more off-seasons of arbitration. SP Jose Berrios ($3.7m) and RP Tyler Duffey ($900k) will both receive their first arbitration raise. C Mitch Garver, bOF Jake Cave, RP Ryne Harper and RP Matt Magill all will slot in above the minimum but haven’t reached arbitration yet, so we’ll use $750k as placeholders for them. Rounding out the roster are players at or near the minimum. Though that figure hasn’t been released yet (it’s based on cost of living increase), we’ll use $570k as a placeholder. This will include 2B Luis Arraez, bC/3B Willians Astudillo, SP Devin Smeltzer, SP Lewis Thorpe, SP Sean Poppen and RP Fernando Romero. Before you get hung up on any of those figures - they admittedly may be way too high or way too low on any individual - the point of this exercise was to get an idea of what payroll would look like on Opening Day. The math works out to $86,700,000. (EDIT: We'd need to replace Magill's $750K with either Hildenberger or Littell, but the bottom line wouldn't change more than a couple hundred thousand dollars.) Though we don’t know what the team would be comfortable spending, it would not be out of the question to see a payroll approaching $135 million. That would allow the team to spend nearly $50 million between now and next March. The core of Rosario, Buxton, Rogers and Berrios will be even more expensive the following year, without the relief of over $40 million in expiring contracts. Cruz, Cron, Perez and Gonzalez figure to be the only pending free agents on a multi-million dollar deal. It’s not a certainty that the Twins wouldn’t be willing to take on players with more than just one year left on their contract, but at this point in time, it’s obvious that the team - would have said publicly that they aren’t interested in rentals - would have payroll both this year and next year to add impact players. Popular names on the trade market that have one more year of arbitration before free agency - think guys the Twins could easily take on from a payroll perspective without impacting their 2021 payroll - include starting pitchers Blue Jay Marcus Stroman, Diamondback Robbie Ray and Indian Trevor Bauer. Padres Kirby Yates and Robbie Erlin, Blue Jays Ken Giles and Aaron Sanchez, Diamondback Andrew Chafin, Gian Sam Dyson, Royals Ian Kennedy (expensive) and Jake Diekman, Tiger Shane Greene and Alex Colome of the White Sox are all relievers with one more year of control.
  9. As the Twins navigate a rough stretch while privately considering how to upgrade the team in advance of the trade deadline, we fans continue to publically look at all the options. Bullpen help? Give me a couple. Upgrade in the rotation? We’ll take that too.On Wednesday, a series was introduced that will look at this trade deadline, but from the perspective of next year’s Opening Day. While it wasn’t meant to be a projection - we know that the team is going to make many moves between now and then - it was meant to see how things would look if they didn’t. Some brief conclusions: The lineup should be great. The bench could use some tweaks. The rotation has an engine, but no cars. The bullpen… well, there’s some work to do there. While we looked at how the team could look next year, we neglected to consider a very important part: the financial aspect. From here, we’ll start to narrow in on the deadline that is less than two weeks away: who could go, what teams could sell, what players the Twins could make a move on, and, finally, what I would do if I sat in the GM seat. ---- In regard to payroll, we’re only going to consider the 25-man roster. The same 25-man roster that was presented on Wednesday will be used. (Yes, that means Magill and Duffey instead of Littell and HIldenberger, even though the latter seems to be a more realistic pair to be difference-makers in next year’s bullpen.) (Edit: Magill was DFA'd Thursday afternoon.) Jake Odorizzi, Kyle Gibson, Michael Pineda, Jason Castro and Jonathan Schoop are all free agents, which removes $41,125,000, roughly one third of this season’s payroll. Here’s what we know right now: The Twins are likely, barring something unforeseen, to pick up DH Nelson Cruz’s $12m option. SP Martin Perez also has a team option and based on his innings projection, it will be increasing from $7.5m to $8m. The only players guaranteed a certain amount for next year are UTIL Marwin Gonzalez ($9m), RF Max Kepler ($6.25m) and SS Jorge Polanco ($3.83m). Going through arbitration will be 10 players. All of these figures are rough estimates. In their final years of arbitration are 1B C.J. Cron ($8.5m), RP Blake Parker ($2.7m), bSS Ehire Adrianza ($1.5m) and RP Trevor May ($1.6m), Entering their second-to-last round of arbitration are LF Eddie Rosario ($8.3m) and 3B Miguel Sano ($5.1m). CF Byron Buxton ($5.2m) and RP Taylor Rogers ($3.7m) all got a Super-2 bump last year but will have three more off-seasons of arbitration. SP Jose Berrios ($3.7m) and RP Tyler Duffey ($900k) will both receive their first arbitration raise. C Mitch Garver, bOF Jake Cave, RP Ryne Harper and RP Matt Magill all will slot in above the minimum but haven’t reached arbitration yet, so we’ll use $750k as placeholders for them. Rounding out the roster are players at or near the minimum. Though that figure hasn’t been released yet (it’s based on cost of living increase), we’ll use $570k as a placeholder. This will include 2B Luis Arraez, bC/3B Willians Astudillo, SP Devin Smeltzer, SP Lewis Thorpe, SP Sean Poppen and RP Fernando Romero. Before you get hung up on any of those figures - they admittedly may be way too high or way too low on any individual - the point of this exercise was to get an idea of what payroll would look like on Opening Day. The math works out to $86,700,000. (EDIT: We'd need to replace Magill's $750K with either Hildenberger or Littell, but the bottom line wouldn't change more than a couple hundred thousand dollars.) Though we don’t know what the team would be comfortable spending, it would not be out of the question to see a payroll approaching $135 million. That would allow the team to spend nearly $50 million between now and next March. The core of Rosario, Buxton, Rogers and Berrios will be even more expensive the following year, without the relief of over $40 million in expiring contracts. Cruz, Cron, Perez and Gonzalez figure to be the only pending free agents on a multi-million dollar deal. It’s not a certainty that the Twins wouldn’t be willing to take on players with more than just one year left on their contract, but at this point in time, it’s obvious that the team - would have said publicly that they aren’t interested in rentals - would have payroll both this year and next year to add impact players. Popular names on the trade market that have one more year of arbitration before free agency - think guys the Twins could easily take on from a payroll perspective without impacting their 2021 payroll - include starting pitchers Blue Jay Marcus Stroman, Diamondback Robbie Ray and Indian Trevor Bauer. Padres Kirby Yates and Robbie Erlin, Blue Jays Ken Giles and Aaron Sanchez, Diamondback Andrew Chafin, Gian Sam Dyson, Royals Ian Kennedy (expensive) and Jake Diekman, Tiger Shane Greene and Alex Colome of the White Sox are all relievers with one more year of control. Click here to view the article
  10. The reality, though, is that we all know things are going to fall somewhere in the middle for both buyers and sellers. We know the Twins need help - definitely in the bullpen and possibly in the rotation - and the next couple of weeks are going to be full of rumors and speculation. Over the next two weeks, I’m going to present a series to you that hopefully takes a different look at things. Today’s part - Part 1 - will start by focusing on next year, but we’ll get more into that soon. Part 2 will be a continuation of today’s article, but will look at the financial side of things. Especially who this regime has invested in. Part 3 will update an article I posted seven weeks ago looking at who might the Twins be most motivated to move? Part 4 (the teams) and Part 5 (the players) will narrow the focus as the deadline approaches. And, finally, Part 6 will be me revisiting something I’ve done in the past, playing GM for a Day. ---- The Twins leadership has banged the same drum repeatedly over time. They aren’t interested in committing future dollars, but they value control. Beyond Jorge Polanco's and Max Kepler's contract extensions, only Marwin Gonzalez is on the books for a guaranteed dollar amount next year. Nelson Cruz and Martin Perez have buyouts on team options. Which is really just a fancy way of maybe telling us they overvalue prospects and pre-arbitration-eligible player. You could assume they value guys in arbitration too, but as price increases and control decreases, the value decreases quickly. And then they hit free agency. The Twins will have five guys hitting the ranks of free agency after the season: Jake Odorizzi, Kyle Gibson, Michael Pineda, Jason Castro and Jonathan Schoop. Knowing how the organization values control, we need to look at next year before we can look at the moves for the next few weeks. (Seems backwards though.) Assuming the free agent leave and the Twins add no other players, here’s a guess at how things could look on the 25-man and 40-man roster: C: Mitch Garver 1B: C.J. Cron 2B: Luis Arraez 3B: Miguel Sano SS: Jorge Polanco LF: Eddie Rosario CF: Byron Buxton RF: Max Kepler DH: Nelson Cruz Bench: Marwin Gonzalez (UTIL) Bench: Jake Cave (OF) Bench: Willians Astudillo (C/3B) Bench: Ehire Adrianza (SS) SP: Jose Berrios SP: Martin Perez SP: Devin Smeltzer SP: Lewis Thorpe SP: Sean Poppen RP: Taylor Rogers RP: Ryne Harper RP: Trevor May RP: Blake Parker RP: Fernando Romero RP: Matt Magill RP: Tyler Duffey On assignment: LaMonte Wade On assignment: Nick Gordon On assignment: Kohl Stewart (P) On assignment: Stephen Gonsalves (P) On assignment: Zack Littell (P) On assignment: Trevor Hildenberger (P) On assignment: Ryan Eades (P) To be added: Brusdar Graterol (P) To be added: Jhoan Duran (P) To be added: Wander Javier (SS) To be added: Jorge Alcala (P) To be added: Luis Rijo (P) To be added: Griffin Jax (P) To be added: Lewin Diaz (1B) To be added: Travis Blankenhorn (2B/3B) Not adding: Luke Raley (OF), Gilberto Celestino (OF), Jovani Moran (P) No room: Mike Morin (P) (Edit: Morin was DFA'd yesterday before the game.) Other top prospects: Royce Lewis (SS), Alex Kirilloff (OF), Trevor Larnach (OF), Jordan Balazovic (P), Brent Rooker (OF), Yunier Severino (2B), Blayne Enlow (P), Ben Rortvedt ©, Jose Miranda (3B), Edwar Colina (P), Akil Baddoo (OF), Ryan Jeffers © First thing, I’ve not actually adding eight guys to the roster, but for this exercise, I wanted to have a full 40-man just so that we can work backwards. Let’s take a closer look. Mitch Garver, C.J. Cron, Luis Arraez, Miguel Sano, Jorge Polanco, Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Nelson Cruz, Marwin Gonzalez seem to fill out the top 10 position players pretty well. Garver has split duties with Castro, but has become the more regular catcher. Schoop departs and Arraez slides in nicely. This leaves spots for a backup catcher (Willians Astudillo), a backup shortstop (Ehire Adrianza) and a fourth outfielder (Jake Cave). Astudillo and Cave both have options left, if needed. Gonzalez could serve as the fourth outfielder and backup infielder too. Adrianza is a smooth fielder. But when your only concern is whether or not to upgrade your bench next year… that seems like a winter question, not the trade deadline. The rotation - with 60% on expiring deals - is much more interesting. Jose Berrios will be the Opening Day starter in 2020 and beyond. Martin Perez is very likely to slot into one of the other four spots. The Twins will not go into next season slotting three rookies - Devin Smeltzer, Lewis Thorpe and Sean Poppen - in those spots. Could one break the rotation? Maybe. But that’s two starters, minimum, that need to be acquired between now and March. If the rotation is interesting, the bullpen is downright messy. Taylor Rogers is the Ace. Ryne Harper has been fantastic and, at this point, probably is at least written in dark pencil for next year. Trevor May has the ability but hasn’t been consistent. There’s no doubt that he can be a part of a very good major league bullpen though. And then… questions. Blake Parker and Matt Magill are controllable, but replaceable. Fernando Romero has upside, but has been a disaster and out of options after his year. Tyler Duffey has been OK at times, but is also out of options. Zack Littell and Trevor Hildenberger could be solutions, but both can start the year in the minors. I also had to get rid of Mike Morin, who is out of options. There are other options, like Kohl Stewart, if the Twins wanted to try him out in the bullpen. But as much depth as there is in the system, there are no great answers for next year to the bullpen question either. What we have above is the sketchings of the 2020 team. Print it out, make changes, run your own projections. Because there is a 100% chance that it changes before the spring… and a lot of fans that hope it changes before August 1.
  11. At the All-Star break Rocco Baldelli’s Minnesota Twins currently own the third best record in the American League. They have a 5.5 game lead on the Cleveland Indians in the AL Central division, and the +113-run differential is second-most in all of baseball. This team is good, but they have areas needing improvement and just a couple of weeks to execute that improvement. You’ve read plenty of names by this point, but what does the actual blueprint look like?Minnesota has been linked to players like Marcus Stroman and Madison Bumgarner. The Twins have ties to any number of relievers, and you can bet the front office has no desire to leave any stone unturned. We’re soon getting to decision time though, and what they acquire will matter almost as much as who they acquire. Needs The bare minimum here is two relief pitchers. Taylor Rogers has been nothing short of exceptional this season, but he needs to continue with an ability to operate as a hybrid pitcher. Keeping him solely locked into the ninth inning or late inning work isn’t necessarily ideal. He benefits Baldelli most by working as the fireman, and being able to work multiple innings is a massive boost. Ideally one of the arms acquired should be a southpaw and finding an impending free agent over 30 years-old with an ERA right around the mid-3.00 range shouldn’t be a difficult task. Realistically hat type of get isn’t going to cost any significant prospect and the boost could be substantial. On top of relief help a starter would be a definite bonus. Minnesota has just Jose Berrios and Martin Perez locked down for the rotation in 2020, and a controllable asset there makes a ton of sense. Giving up prospects for relief help is never an enticing plan of action but tying in a controllable starter would help to lessen that blow. When the deadline comes and goes on July 31st success should be measured for Minnesota numerically. At least two relief arms would represent a job well done, and an additional starter could tip things over the top. Process Derek Falvey is going to need prospect capital in order to make any move. I’d imagine, and probably suggest, that both Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff be non-starters in almost any package. From there though the Twins will have significant depth at their disposal. Finding a way to both utilize and conserve talent at the same time would provide an optimal crossroads. Opposing organizations are likely going to want trades completed for one big-league asset at a time. If I’m Minnesota however, pairing the starter with a reliever is a way to mitigate risk. Working to pass on parting with real prospects for a rental or relief arm, adding in controllable starting talent opens the door to more coveted names. There’s a handful of selling teams that have assets in both areas Rocco Baldelli’s club currently needs to upgrade. There should be no reason that any deal with those clubs doesn’t go down the path of two players at once when discussions start. Settling on one at a time is fine but look to pair a maximized return with a protected parting. Redundancy It’s true that there’re specific areas on the farm that you’ll never have too many prospects. Up the middle and on the mound, teams will forever find a way to utilize talent. For the Twins, in their current situation, one of the best ways may be in using said players as trade chips. Falvey has a system chock full of middle infield prospects and corner outfielders. Although there’s not a significant number of upper-tier arms, there are a select few that have significant upside. Most of this talent is still at or below Double-A which makes the future risk carry a hefty amount of uncertainty. Using a trade partner to thin out some of that talent and turn it into big league commodities is hardly a bad blueprint. This offseason the Twins will also be up against a 40-man roster crunch that will put some bigger names in a position where they could be exposed. Utilizing them now in a way that draws a return is a significantly better decision than seeing them lost in the Rule 5 Draft. At its core the trade deadline should be a ton of fun for fans of the Minnesota Twins. This team is in position to be a legitimate player for the first time in nearly a decade. Good at the big-league level and on the farm, there’s opportunity to make some serious noise. The goal should be to acquire at least two assets, attempt to engage big with one partner, and work through some of your similar assets. How it all shakes out remains to be seen, but we’ll have answers soon enough. Click here to view the article
  12. Minnesota has been linked to players like Marcus Stroman and Madison Bumgarner. The Twins have ties to any number of relievers, and you can bet the front office has no desire to leave any stone unturned. We’re soon getting to decision time though, and what they acquire will matter almost as much as who they acquire. Needs The bare minimum here is two relief pitchers. Taylor Rogers has been nothing short of exceptional this season, but he needs to continue with an ability to operate as a hybrid pitcher. Keeping him solely locked into the ninth inning or late inning work isn’t necessarily ideal. He benefits Baldelli most by working as the fireman, and being able to work multiple innings is a massive boost. Ideally one of the arms acquired should be a southpaw and finding an impending free agent over 30 years-old with an ERA right around the mid-3.00 range shouldn’t be a difficult task. Realistically hat type of get isn’t going to cost any significant prospect and the boost could be substantial. On top of relief help a starter would be a definite bonus. Minnesota has just Jose Berrios and Martin Perez locked down for the rotation in 2020, and a controllable asset there makes a ton of sense. Giving up prospects for relief help is never an enticing plan of action but tying in a controllable starter would help to lessen that blow. When the deadline comes and goes on July 31st success should be measured for Minnesota numerically. At least two relief arms would represent a job well done, and an additional starter could tip things over the top. Process Derek Falvey is going to need prospect capital in order to make any move. I’d imagine, and probably suggest, that both Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff be non-starters in almost any package. From there though the Twins will have significant depth at their disposal. Finding a way to both utilize and conserve talent at the same time would provide an optimal crossroads. Opposing organizations are likely going to want trades completed for one big-league asset at a time. If I’m Minnesota however, pairing the starter with a reliever is a way to mitigate risk. Working to pass on parting with real prospects for a rental or relief arm, adding in controllable starting talent opens the door to more coveted names. There’s a handful of selling teams that have assets in both areas Rocco Baldelli’s club currently needs to upgrade. There should be no reason that any deal with those clubs doesn’t go down the path of two players at once when discussions start. Settling on one at a time is fine but look to pair a maximized return with a protected parting. Redundancy It’s true that there’re specific areas on the farm that you’ll never have too many prospects. Up the middle and on the mound, teams will forever find a way to utilize talent. For the Twins, in their current situation, one of the best ways may be in using said players as trade chips. Falvey has a system chock full of middle infield prospects and corner outfielders. Although there’s not a significant number of upper-tier arms, there are a select few that have significant upside. Most of this talent is still at or below Double-A which makes the future risk carry a hefty amount of uncertainty. Using a trade partner to thin out some of that talent and turn it into big league commodities is hardly a bad blueprint. This offseason the Twins will also be up against a 40-man roster crunch that will put some bigger names in a position where they could be exposed. Utilizing them now in a way that draws a return is a significantly better decision than seeing them lost in the Rule 5 Draft. At its core the trade deadline should be a ton of fun for fans of the Minnesota Twins. This team is in position to be a legitimate player for the first time in nearly a decade. Good at the big-league level and on the farm, there’s opportunity to make some serious noise. The goal should be to acquire at least two assets, attempt to engage big with one partner, and work through some of your similar assets. How it all shakes out remains to be seen, but we’ll have answers soon enough.
  13. We also review the first half award winners, put a bow on the 2019 draft class and much, much more. An action-packed 100 minutes in probably our best episode yet. As always, all of our podcasts are available here or you can download directly from iTunes here.
  14. I'd like to introduce Twins Daily readers to something new. You may have noticed - or maybe not - that my writing and commenting has been much more sporadic this season. There are plenty of reasons for that... mostly growing kids and more responsibilities at work. But my interest in the Twins and their affiliates has never waned. I don't follow any less and I'm still certainly not short of opinions. What became of that is that I'd have a lot of Twins conversations with my neighbor. I'd be out with my dog or getting the mail or rolling the garbage to the end of the driveway and sometimes my neighbor, John Miller, would be outside. Our conversations would typically be about the Twins. We'd have these conversations across the road that splits our property, Meadow Lane. (Which is where we came up with our somewhat cheesy name.) He's been a long time reader of Twins Daily. (But never attended Winter Meltdown or a Touch Em All Pub Crawl. We'll have to fix that.) We'd talk about different things that have been written or commented on these very pages and he's said a number of times that he was thinking about starting a blog. And he should! At some point in time - probably after attending Gleeman and the Geek's first Taproom Tuesday of the year - we started talking about doing a podcast together. And last week, leading up to the trade deadline, that finally happened. If you're into podcasts, give it a shot. Give us feedback. We've jumped through the hoops to get our podcast on iTunes. You can listen to the Trade Deadline Preview (Episode 1) or the Trade Deadline Review (Episode 2). It's also available on our Across the Meadow website. We'd love for you to listen and let us know what you think. John also mans our Twitter account and will definitely engage with you.
  15. Twins Daily has done a great job covering all of the action that happened over the last week as the Twins were very active at the trade deadline. In addition to that, the beginning of a new month also brings all sorts of Player of the Month recaps. And there's always the main staples of Twins Daily: the daily minor league reports and Twins game recaps.I'd like to introduce Twins Daily readers to something new. You may have noticed - or maybe not - that my writing and commenting has been much more sporadic this season. There are plenty of reasons for that... mostly growing kids and more responsibilities at work. But my interest in the Twins and their affiliates has never waned. I don't follow any less and I'm still certainly not short of opinions. What became of that is that I'd have a lot of Twins conversations with my neighbor. I'd be out with my dog or getting the mail or rolling the garbage to the end of the driveway and sometimes my neighbor, John Miller, would be outside. Our conversations would typically be about the Twins. We'd have these conversations across the road that splits our property, Meadow Lane. (Which is where we came up with our somewhat cheesy name.) He's been a long time reader of Twins Daily. (But never attended Winter Meltdown or a Touch Em All Pub Crawl. We'll have to fix that.) We'd talk about different things that have been written or commented on these very pages and he's said a number of times that he was thinking about starting a blog. And he should! At some point in time - probably after attending Gleeman and the Geek's first Taproom Tuesday of the year - we started talking about doing a podcast together. And last week, leading up to the trade deadline, that finally happened. If you're into podcasts, give it a shot. Give us feedback. We've jumped through the hoops to get our podcast on iTunes. You can listen to the Trade Deadline Preview (Episode 1) or the Trade Deadline Review (Episode 2). It's also available on our Across the Meadow website. We'd love for you to listen and let us know what you think. John also mans our Twitter account and will definitely engage with you. Click here to view the article
  16. Good morning and welcome to your Twins Game Thread for Sunday. It is the series and season finale, with the Twins currently 3-3 against the Red Sox. They are down 2-1 in the series, hoping to come out of Fenway with a split. Last night's game got away from the Twins after they had gotten a 4-1 lead going into the bottom of the fourth. Too many balls caromed off the high walls in center and left and Mookie Betts and JD Martinez did what they have been doing regularly. We are now 53 hours away from the trade deadline. Still remaining on the club are Brian Dozier, Lance Lynn, Logan Morrison, Zach Duke, and Fernando Rodney--all guys with some value and all potential free agents after this season. There have been rumors about a deal for Kyle Gibson, who would (IMHO) command the most return. On the field, Miguel Sano returned and had another tough day at the plate (0-4 with 3 Ks), but he does look better at third base. Trying to get Miggy back to where he was the first half of 2017 has to be one of the Twins biggest priorities the rest of the way. Lineups: Twins 48-55 Mauer DH (L) Rosario LF (L) Polanco SS (S) Dozier 2B. ® Morrison 1B (L) Sano 3B ® Grossman RF (S) Cave CF (L) Wilson C ® Jose Berrios RHP Red Sox 73-33 Betts RF ® Benintendi LF (L) Martinez DH ® Pearce 1B ® Bradley Jr. CF (L) Nunez 2B ® Swihart 3B (S) Holt SS (L) Leon C (S) Eovaldi RHP
  17. I wrote a Game Thread opener that had nothing to do with today’s game and very little to do with this year. Then the Twins won four games in a row and the intrigue about buying and selling heightened, as well as some great performances to talk about—Garver with four hits Wednesday and the gamer last night, Gibson with a great performance against the best team in baseball so far this year—and I’m reeled in to discussing the balance of the series versus the Rose Hose. So, today Chris Sale faces Lance Lynn. Sale has been dominant of late, and Lynn has been a disappointment, if not and out-and-out dud. However, the Twins have played the Red Sox very well and done a respectable job against All-Star pitchers and former Cy Young winners. No lineups yet, and I won’t be able to post them, so if someone could post them as soon as they are announced, it would be appreciated. Five topics (sorry, I’m not RB, so no humor): 1) Joe Mauer, Hall of Famer? If the Hall is good with Jack Morris and Allan Trammell, I think Joe eventually has a shot. I’d like to see him rise up and win another batting championship to close the deal, but he’s got a good resume already. Joe has been swinging well lately. I don’t know if he’ll get to .300 again this year, but he’s been one of the Twins better hitters. 2) 311-310. I’m not certain on the exact numbers, but Probus mentioned this on the radio broadcast last night. The Twins and Sox had played over 600 games in their histories and were dead even before last night. Hard to believe—like balancing a pea on the edge of a knife. 3) Molitor—There’s been some rumbling about last year’s Manager of the Year. I tend to believe most managers are good baseball men, who do well enough with the material they have, and that is the case with the Twins’ skipper. Molitor has two or three guys that can’t seem to get through even six innings putting pressure on the bullpen, and he has a bullpen that has been inconsistent. I can’t blame him for that. I question the use of veterans such as Belisle and Bobby Wilson, but most managers have a guy or two like that. 4) Buxton and Sano. For those of us, who had those two guys in the Hall of Fame, or at least perennial All-Stars, oops! Will they return this year or will the Twins get another service year from each? Two separate cases, but both guys seem a long way from their good half seasons last year. 5) Buy, sell or stand pat? Can this squad win 40 of the last 61 games? Can they catch Cleveland? TD has had this conversation for weeks. I think Cleveland is more perilous than last year, but it is the Twins only option to play post-season baseball and seven games is a lot to make up. Sit back and enjoy the game at Fenway. I haven’t forgiven myself for going on a Boston city tour instead of taking in a game there several years ago.
  18. The idea of supplementing last year’s playoff roster with new additions to the rotation (Jake Odorizzi and Lance Lynn), adding three proven players to the back of the bullpen (Fernando Rodney, Addison Reed and Zach Duke) and plugging the potential of 30+ home runs (Logan Morrison) to an already potent offense raised expectations through the roof. But instead - with the last eleven games being an exception - it has been a disaster. Even with the great end to the first half, the Twins are still on pace to lose the division by 13 games. Though the front office will have two more weeks to make their final decision, they should have the answer already. You can’t give a superior team a head start over a half season and then expect to catch them over the second half. All of that is long for simply saying: LET’S MAKE SOME TRADES! The two big names to move, Brian Dozier and Eduardo Escobar, are going to get the ink in this part of of the rundown. We’ll look at the rest of the players soon thereafter. First, let’s look at Brian Dozier. Dozier ended the first half with a walk-off grand slam and gives hope that maybe he’s warming up for one of his (mostly) annual second-half power runs. He will be owed just shy of $3 million for August and September. There are a handful of teams competing for playoff spots that have big needs at second base: Milwaukee, Boston and Washington come at the top of the list. Washington might have to wait until closer to the deadline before determining if they are buyers or sellers. That leaves the Brewers and Red Sox, in my opinion, as the two teams with the biggest need at second base. The Brewers are unique. They have a big hole at shortstop and have Jonathan Villar, a serviceable player, at second base. But Villar has had a rough year and is now on the disabled list with a thumb injury that will sideline him until the end of the month. I’ve liked what the Brewers have done in terms of adding to their farm system via the draft and trades and I also like their move for Christian Yelich, which took some of those players I liked out of their system. But potentially dealing Dozier to the Brewers starts with prized pitching prospect Corbin Burnes. Burnes is a 23 year old right-handed pitcher who is a Top 100 prospect in baseball and projects as a mid-rotation starter. He’s only in his second full season and projects to help the Brewers in the bullpen during the stretch run. I’d expect the Brewers to balk at that asking price. Beyond him, the Brewers lack the high-end pitcher I’d be targeting. Brewers fans would suggest Luis Ortiz, but he has always struggled to stay healthy, missing time this season with a hamstring strain and failing to ever eclipse the 100 inning mark in a season. When you take that next step down in the prospect category, you’re looking at a number of outfielders, which is a position I’d try to avoid. (While it’s true you can never have too much depth at any position, I’m more than comfortable with the depth the Twins have in the outfield and would prefer to look elsewhere.) In addition to focusing on pitching, I’m also looking for middle infielders and Mauricio Dubon is a good one… who is missing the rest of the year with a torn ACL. It would take more than an injured infielder to give up Dozier. I also know the Twins liked burly RHP Cody Ponce coming out of college. Currently pitching at AA, Ponce projects as a back-end starter. Taking either of them plus a lower level prospect isn’t exciting as Burnes, but it’s possible that it could be enough. The preferred destination for me - and it’s a perfect fit with Dustin Pedroia likely missing the rest of the season - is Boston. The Red Sox always have ammo. Some of it is very appealing. I don’t see the Red Sox shopping Michael Chavis or Jay Groome for a rental. Bryan Mata, though, might be a fair ask. Mata played in the Futures Game, but has struggled with his command, walking 57 in 71 innings. The tall righty has a high-ceiling though, playing high A ball at only 19. A step below Mata is big lefty Darwinzon Hernandez, a 21 a year old who is still pretty raw but also is a high-ceiling prospect. In addition to one of those pitchers, I’d also ask about MLBer Blake Swihart. A former top catching prospect, Swihart would benefit from a change of scenery and the switch-hitter does better from the left-side of the plate, which would pair well with Mitch Garver. Despite his lack on innings behind the plate this season, a catching-starved organization (seriously, who’s the next catcher that gets the call if Wilson or Garver get hurt?) could do worse than to see if he can help fill a hole moving forward. Plus, he offers position flexibility and I’m a sucker for that. If the Red Sox were willing to part with multiple pieces, I’d be willing to move Dozier as well as Zach Duke if that’s what it takes to get it done. Do any of these potential trades appeal to you? Dozier to the Brewers for Ortiz or Dubon or Ponce plus? Dozier and Duke to the Red Sox for Mata and a lottery ticket or Hernandez and possibly Swihart? Eduardo Escobar is another appealing trade piece/pending free agent that the Twins should look to move. Owed $1.6 million in July and August, Escobar has played primarily third base on the season, but can move over to shortstop and second base as needed. In fact, with Machado off the board, Escobar might be the best option for teams looking for a shortstop. Philadelphia was in the Machado sweepstakes until the end, losing out when the Dodgers were willing to part with five prospects in a combination of quality and quantity. The Phillies remain in the infield market. By position and bWAR, the Phillies rank 28th at third base and 27th at shortstop. Though Maikel Franco has improved as of late, Escobar would be an upgrade for a team desperate to battle with the Braves and hold off the Nationals. My ask would be for short-season pitcher Francisco Morales. A tall, hard-throwing, high-ceiling 18-year-old righty who is having a good (albeit very early) season. There are other intriguing prospects in the Philadelphia system as well. Cole Irvin, a big lefty, is 24 and having a very good season in AAA. He projects as a back-half starter, without huge stuff, but throws a variety of pitches and has good control, striking out 93 while only walking 20 in 112 innings so far this season. Franklyn Kilome is another high-ceiling prospect, but his stuff has backed up a little as a 23-year-old in AA, walking over 4.5 batter per nine innings. How would you feel about dealing Escobar to Philadelphia? Escobar to the Phillies for Morales or Irvin or Kilome plus? The difference between Dozier and Escobar and the rest of the Twins potential trade chips is that there is a very good chance that if they don’t find a deal to their liking, they can make the qualifying offer to either or both and get draft pick compensation. Dishing out potentially $19 million to either player seems excessive and is, but one-year deals rarely hamstring a team because of the immediate cost certainty. And in the Twins case, who have very little committed to next year and many players still pre-arbitration, there will be plenty of money to spend, especially on productive offensive bats. There are many other players who fall into a different category - whether that’s impending free agency with no chance to get the qualifying offer or guys who will still spend a year or two or more under team control. We’ll take a look at some of those guys soon. Weigh in below. If you were GM, what would you do with Dozier and Escobar?
  19. The All-Star break has been filled with Manny Machado rumors and an eventual deal that is the first domino in what will hopefully be a busy trade season. On Thursday, division leader Cleveland made a move to shore up their bullpen. As Twins fans, we’ve seen the hometown team win nine of their last 11, letting that six game skid that preceded the winning streak fade into distant memories. And that’s a problem. The Twins are 7.5 games behind the Indians… and the likelihood of them catching the Indians is extremely low.The idea of supplementing last year’s playoff roster with new additions to the rotation (Jake Odorizzi and Lance Lynn), adding three proven players to the back of the bullpen (Fernando Rodney, Addison Reed and Zach Duke) and plugging the potential of 30+ home runs (Logan Morrison) to an already potent offense raised expectations through the roof. But instead - with the last eleven games being an exception - it has been a disaster. Even with the great end to the first half, the Twins are still on pace to lose the division by 13 games. Though the front office will have two more weeks to make their final decision, they should have the answer already. You can’t give a superior team a head start over a half season and then expect to catch them over the second half. All of that is long for simply saying: LET’S MAKE SOME TRADES! The two big names to move, Brian Dozier and Eduardo Escobar, are going to get the ink in this part of of the rundown. We’ll look at the rest of the players soon thereafter. First, let’s look at Brian Dozier. Dozier ended the first half with a walk-off grand slam and gives hope that maybe he’s warming up for one of his (mostly) annual second-half power runs. He will be owed just shy of $3 million for August and September. There are a handful of teams competing for playoff spots that have big needs at second base: Milwaukee, Boston and Washington come at the top of the list. Washington might have to wait until closer to the deadline before determining if they are buyers or sellers. That leaves the Brewers and Red Sox, in my opinion, as the two teams with the biggest need at second base. The Brewers are unique. They have a big hole at shortstop and have Jonathan Villar, a serviceable player, at second base. But Villar has had a rough year and is now on the disabled list with a thumb injury that will sideline him until the end of the month. I’ve liked what the Brewers have done in terms of adding to their farm system via the draft and trades and I also like their move for Christian Yelich, which took some of those players I liked out of their system. But potentially dealing Dozier to the Brewers starts with prized pitching prospect Corbin Burnes. Burnes is a 23 year old right-handed pitcher who is a Top 100 prospect in baseball and projects as a mid-rotation starter. He’s only in his second full season and projects to help the Brewers in the bullpen during the stretch run. I’d expect the Brewers to balk at that asking price. Beyond him, the Brewers lack the high-end pitcher I’d be targeting. Brewers fans would suggest Luis Ortiz, but he has always struggled to stay healthy, missing time this season with a hamstring strain and failing to ever eclipse the 100 inning mark in a season. When you take that next step down in the prospect category, you’re looking at a number of outfielders, which is a position I’d try to avoid. (While it’s true you can never have too much depth at any position, I’m more than comfortable with the depth the Twins have in the outfield and would prefer to look elsewhere.) In addition to focusing on pitching, I’m also looking for middle infielders and Mauricio Dubon is a good one… who is missing the rest of the year with a torn ACL. It would take more than an injured infielder to give up Dozier. I also know the Twins liked burly RHP Cody Ponce coming out of college. Currently pitching at AA, Ponce projects as a back-end starter. Taking either of them plus a lower level prospect isn’t exciting as Burnes, but it’s possible that it could be enough. The preferred destination for me - and it’s a perfect fit with Dustin Pedroia likely missing the rest of the season - is Boston. The Red Sox always have ammo. Some of it is very appealing. I don’t see the Red Sox shopping Michael Chavis or Jay Groome for a rental. Bryan Mata, though, might be a fair ask. Mata played in the Futures Game, but has struggled with his command, walking 57 in 71 innings. The tall righty has a high-ceiling though, playing high A ball at only 19. A step below Mata is big lefty Darwinzon Hernandez, a 21 a year old who is still pretty raw but also is a high-ceiling prospect. In addition to one of those pitchers, I’d also ask about MLBer Blake Swihart. A former top catching prospect, Swihart would benefit from a change of scenery and the switch-hitter does better from the left-side of the plate, which would pair well with Mitch Garver. Despite his lack on innings behind the plate this season, a catching-starved organization (seriously, who’s the next catcher that gets the call if Wilson or Garver get hurt?) could do worse than to see if he can help fill a hole moving forward. Plus, he offers position flexibility and I’m a sucker for that. If the Red Sox were willing to part with multiple pieces, I’d be willing to move Dozier as well as Zach Duke if that’s what it takes to get it done. Do any of these potential trades appeal to you? Dozier to the Brewers for Ortiz or Dubon or Ponce plus? Dozier and Duke to the Red Sox for Mata and a lottery ticket or Hernandez and possibly Swihart? Eduardo Escobar is another appealing trade piece/pending free agent that the Twins should look to move. Owed $1.6 million in July and August, Escobar has played primarily third base on the season, but can move over to shortstop and second base as needed. In fact, with Machado off the board, Escobar might be the best option for teams looking for a shortstop. Philadelphia was in the Machado sweepstakes until the end, losing out when the Dodgers were willing to part with five prospects in a combination of quality and quantity. The Phillies remain in the infield market. By position and bWAR, the Phillies rank 28th at third base and 27th at shortstop. Though Maikel Franco has improved as of late, Escobar would be an upgrade for a team desperate to battle with the Braves and hold off the Nationals. My ask would be for short-season pitcher Francisco Morales. A tall, hard-throwing, high-ceiling 18-year-old righty who is having a good (albeit very early) season. There are other intriguing prospects in the Philadelphia system as well. Cole Irvin, a big lefty, is 24 and having a very good season in AAA. He projects as a back-half starter, without huge stuff, but throws a variety of pitches and has good control, striking out 93 while only walking 20 in 112 innings so far this season. Franklyn Kilome is another high-ceiling prospect, but his stuff has backed up a little as a 23-year-old in AA, walking over 4.5 batter per nine innings. How would you feel about dealing Escobar to Philadelphia? Escobar to the Phillies for Morales or Irvin or Kilome plus? The difference between Dozier and Escobar and the rest of the Twins potential trade chips is that there is a very good chance that if they don’t find a deal to their liking, they can make the qualifying offer to either or both and get draft pick compensation. Dishing out potentially $19 million to either player seems excessive and is, but one-year deals rarely hamstring a team because of the immediate cost certainty. And in the Twins case, who have very little committed to next year and many players still pre-arbitration, there will be plenty of money to spend, especially on productive offensive bats. There are many other players who fall into a different category - whether that’s impending free agency with no chance to get the qualifying offer or guys who will still spend a year or two or more under team control. We’ll take a look at some of those guys soon. Weigh in below. If you were GM, what would you do with Dozier and Escobar? Click here to view the article
  20. I was thinking about the trade deadline today. If the Twins are still in it after the All-Star Break and don't have any huge injuries (knock on wood), they're a pretty solid team. It’s hard to see where they’d need massive upgrades. • The starting rotation almost has too many options so outside of an ace, it makes little sense to get a pitcher. Even then, not sure there’s going to be a starting pitcher available who moves the dial that much. • The bullpen has struggled at times but is deep with a lot of options in the high minors. You could make a move but the market on elite bullpen arms is always high and I’m not sure the Twins will have a need that excuses the cost. • The starting lineup looks set. Escobar papers over any infield issues and the starting outfield is strong. And with Polanco coming back in the second half (though not the playoffs), SS seems like somewhere the Twins can hold off on an upgrade. The Twins biggest targets might be more cosmetic and involve the bench. Assuming Castro isn’t gone for long, catcher is set. Infield seems good too with Adrianza and Escobar (elephant in the room about who goes when Polanco comes back). The big hole for the Twins is a RH 4th outfielder who can soak up some DH at-bats. Rosario and Kepler have hit lefties well but it’d be nice to not be trotting out Grossman so regularly against LH starters. Ryan Lamarre has been a nice story but there’s room for improving the outfield depth on the MLB roster – Grossman can become a 25th man as a switch-hitting bench bat rather than an often-overmatched 4th OF. The Twins will have some options to upgrade this spot but I’m hoping that Andrew McCutchen will be available and willing to come play a more bit role for a contending team. That last part is no small matter but the Giants have lost Madison and Cueto and look like a team that could plummet down the standings. McCutchen might be interested in tasting the playoffs again? He would be an ideal fit. He has a career .963 OPS vs. LHP (and 1.131 OPS last year so that's not weighted by early performance). That would be solid in the Twins lineup and would also give them that big bench bat they're looking for when teams bring in left-handed relievers late (McCutchen has a higher OPS vs. LH relievers than LH starters). He’s also a capable corner OF even if he’s no longer a CF. The cost would likely not be prohibitive. McCutchen is in the last year of his deal and has struggled at times this year. He fetched almost nothing this offseason – middling RH reliever Kyle Crick and Bryan Reynolds, a 2016 2nd round pick OF who hasn’t look special thus far and profiles as a 4th OF or defensive centerfielder. If the Twins are willing to eat $6-8 million in salary, I think they could get McCutchen for someone like 2017 5th round pick Andrew Bechtold. And even that might be too high - I was siding on giving up too much instead of an unrealistic pipedream. Thoughts on this? I’d feel a lot more comfortable if our lineup against LHP was something like: 1B Mauer ( L ) 2B Dozier ( R ) DH Sano ( R ) RF McCutchen ( R ) LF Rosario/Kepler ( L ) CF Buxton ( R ) 3B Escobar ( S ) C Garver ( R ) SS Polanco/Adrianza ( S ) You could even give Joe a day off and slot Grossman in as DH with Sano playing 1B. Your bench against lefties would be Morrison, Rosario/Kepler, Grossman/Mauer and Castro. That’s not too shabby.
  21. ANNND Welcome! To Minnesota Twins Whine Line: Price is Right Edition! I am your host for the next 2 days, Van Barker. What do you guys think of my new microphone?! ChiTown chipped in her hard earned money to make sure we were LEGIT for Trade Deadline weekend! We've got a real BARN BURNER series this weekend against the Oakland A's. Who knows, maybe this game will be good! Before we get into the debauchery, let's discuss weather and lineups. It's going to be a BRIGHT sunny evening in Oakland! 65 degrees at first pitch. Wind out of the WSW at 9 MPH... Minnesota Twins (50-51): P - Adalberto Mejia (L) - 78 overall on MLB the Show! Oakland A's (44-59): P - Chris Smith ® - Making his 4th career MLB start at 36 years old! Okay, now let's get into the REAL reason why we're here... Let's announce our first contestants. Intern, take it away! Brian Cashman, Jeff Luhnow, Farhan Zaidi, Theo Epstein, and Dave Dombrowski.... COME ON DOWN! You're the first contestants on the Price is Right!! Thanks intern! And good luck everybody. What's the first item up for bids? Van, let's start off the show with an aging Ervin Santana! This 34 year old pitcher started the year out HOT, and made the All-Star team! This intriguing pitcher still leads the MLB in CG and shutouts, along with having a 3.37 ERA in 136 innings! On top of that, he comes with a VERY NICE haircut, and EXCELLENT mentoring abilities! Brian, what's your bid? BC: I'll bid my #5 org-ranked prospect, Van. JL: Hmm, my #4 org prospect FZ: #10 org prospect TE: #12 org prospect DD: $1, Van ACTUAL RETAIL PRICE: #4 org-ranked prospect!! Congratulations Jeff! Who's our next contestant? Dayton Moore... COME ON DOWN! You're the next contestant on the Price Is Right!! Thanks intern. Next item up for bid, please.... Van, we have one of the hottest items in the league, closer Brandon Kintzler! This almost 33 year old pitcher came out of the woodwork the last 2 years to become a pretty good reliever! He's a recent All-Star with an ATTRACTIVE expiring contract! Brian, you're first. BC: My bullpen is good, I'm sitting out this round. JL: Woah, has that ever happened before, Van? Van: Not that we know of! Also, how are you still here?! You just won the last item. JL: Nobody has asked me to leave yet...I'm bidding my #12 org prospect FZ: Yeah, if Brian is sitting out, so am I. JL: Do you guys just want me to win automatically? BC & FZ: Yuuuuup. TE: $1. Van. DD: $2, Van. TE: I see how it is Dave. Come at me bro! DM: #1 org prospect. We don't have anything left to give! ACTUAL RETAIL PRICE: #1 org prospect!! Congrats Dayton, your farm system is going to be barren soon enough! Who's our next contestant? Mike Rizzo.... COME ON DOWN! You're the next contestant on the Price is Right! Let's keep this rolling. Next item up for bid..... Van, we have a BRAND NEW PROSPECT!!!! It's the 2018 Nick Gordon. This speedy sports car goes from home to first in 2.3 seconds, and transitions in the field VERY WELL. The only issue with this FINE automobile is it can't turn to the left as well as the right. This item could be yours, on the PRICE IS RIGHT! Brian, you're first. BC: I'll offer CC Sabathia, Van. JL: Carlos Beltran FZ: Kenta Maeda, Van. I'm sick of him taking 30 seconds to throw a pitch. TE: You want Jon Lester's remaining contract? Because that's what you're going to get. DD: I don't like prospects. I'm sitting this one out. TE: My god you're cheap, Dave. DD: So what? If this guy was 30 years old I'll trade for him in a snap. Van: Clearly these guys don't like each other! MR: Stephen Strasburg, Van. *Buzzer* Ah, shoot. You all went over the actual retail price. No new car for you! Final item up for bids..... Van, let's end the show by offering Brian Dozier!! This 2B has been on the market before, and hasn't drummed up a lot of interest yet! But, he comes with some power, LEADERSHIP, and the occasional slick play in the field! He's under contract for one more season, then it's your problem when he enters free agency! Brian? BC: Jordan Sheffield, Van. JL: Francis Martes. FZ: Jose De Leon. Van: You no longer have De Leon, Farhan. FZ: Yes I do. Jose De Leon. Van: Okay, let's move on. Clearly you're in denial about this. FZ: Jose De Leon. Van: STOP IT. FZ: Jose De Leon. Alright, SHOW'S OVER. Farhan ruined it for all of us by saying Jose De Leon too many times.... Let's get a win Twins!
  22. Fans will get to see if the Minnesota Twins truly can hang over their next nine games. Starting Thursday, the Twins will see starting pitchers Jose Quintana (8.7 K/9, 2.47 K/B), Trevor Bauer (7 IP, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K in last start against Twins), Corey Kluber (11 K/9, 4.71 K/BB), Josh Tomlin (9.33 K/BB), Chris Sale (12.2 K/9), Drew Pomeranz (10.4 K/9), Rick Porcello (4.72 K/BB), David Price (BOS 3-1 in his four June starts) and Jason Vargas (200 ERA+). All those games are on the road. This was originally published at FoulPlaybyPlay.com, a community of foul-mouthed, sports broadcasters providing commercial-free, uncensored play-by-play during select games. The premiere games will be when Jose Berrios takes on Chris Sale in Boston on Monday, and when veterans Ervin Santana and Jason Vargas do battle in Kansas City next Friday. The Twins have to be underdogs in just about all nine of those games, though. The Twins better hope they get some pitching reinforcements. Right now the Twins are running Nik Turley out there, but they just signed Dillon Gee, so expect him to get a start over that nine-game stretch. Hector Santiago is getting a rehab start on Wednesday for the Rochester Red Wings, and if all goes well, he could pitch as early as Tuesday against Pomeranz. That could end up being a big game for the Twins and Santiago, who has fallen and can’t get up. The bullpen could also use reinforcements, and Alan Busenitz doesn’t seem to be the answer. Phil Hughes could also pitch out of the bullpen for Rochester on Wednesday. Expect Hughes to take longer to get back to MLB ready, but he’d be a welcomed addition to the worst bullpen in baseball. If Hughes can even get through a lineup once, he would leave fewer innings for guys like Matt Belisle (5.1 BB/9) and Craig Breslow (5 SO/9). Hughes will likely be forced back up during that brutal nine-game stretch for the Twins whether he’s pitching well at AAA or not. This is the stretch of games that will turn contenders into sellers. Consider if the Twins go 2-7 over that nine-game stretch. They’d be two games under .500 at best, and with Cleveland’s offense finally taking off (and three more games coming against them) the Twins could be looking up from farther down in the AL Central than the 1.5 games they are entering Wednesday. The Twins will have 10 more games after the nine-game stretch against playoff-caliber starting pitching to avoid becoming sellers at the deadline. Regardless, you can bet new chief of baseball operations Derek Falvey will be active over his first Trade Deadline. It won’t take much for him to be as active as Terry Ryan ever was. So who do the Twins move? Santana’s value has plummeted lately, and given the Twins don’t have enough MLB-caliber pitchers to start every fifth day, it’s a safe bet anyone capable of eating innings will be sticking around. Brian Dozier’s value has dried up a bit, too, which isn’t all bad. He’s still signed through 2018, and at a very reasonable rate next season ($6 million). This offseason or the deadline next season would be a good time to shop him, depending how Nick Gordon performs if he gets a cup of coffee when rosters expand this season. Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press said it’s a possibility. Gordon would likely push Jorge Polanco to second base. The most valuable players on the team aren’t going anywhere. Zach Granite can bang on the door all he wants, but Byron Buxton is going nowhere. Neither is Max Kepler, and I doubt Eddie Rosario would be moved given he’s not even arbitration eligible until 2019. Robbie Grossman is one of the most valuable trade chips the Twins have, and I expect him to be shopped. He’s not an everyday outfielder, but man, can he hit. I think Falvey really likes Grossman. But what’s not to like? His OPS+ is 112, and he’s absolutely wrecking right-handed pitching (6 HR, .435 SLG, .801 OPS). He’s not bad against lefties either (.441 OBP, .741 OPS). He still has the highest on-base percentage amongst designated hitters at .389 and should be an All-star. He has a higher OPS than Hanley Ramirez, Victor Martinez, Mark Trumbo, Albert Pujols and Carlos Beltran. Grossman will be arbitration eligible next year and would be a fantastic addition as a designated hitter for a playoff team, but I can’t expect any of the teams of the players mentioned to make a move for the position. That leaves Eduardo Escobar, who is on fire to say the least. He has hits in seven straight games and is 22-for-45 in June. His .838 OPS is fourth amongst shortstops, and his OPS+ is a team- and career-high 121. While he’s a below-average defensive shortstop, there are plenty of playoff-bound teams who would love to have a utility bat with a 1.066 OPS against lefties. And the Twins don’t need to be “out of it” in the Central to move Escobar. He’s arbitration eligible for the final time next year and will make considerably more than the $2.6 million he’s being paid this season. He’ll also be a free agent after next season. Escobar can play just about everywhere, which makes me think the Chicago Cubs would be a perfect fit. Escobar could give Addison Russell a breather against lefties (Russell is hitting .219/.349/.346 against them this season), and play the outfield for Kyle Schwarber against lefties (Schwarber has a .567 OPS against lefties this year). What should the Twins ask in return? Well, lefty starter Jen-Ho Tseng with the Tennessee Smokies (AA) is intriguing. He’s just 22, and his K:BB ratio is 3.1 and he’s striking out 7.7 per nine innings. Future relievers could include righty Pedro Araujo, 23, who has a K:BB ratio of 7.0 through 31.2 innings with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans of Advanced-A ball. His teammate and fellow righty Craig Brooks, 24, is actually striking out more batters than Araujo (13.3 K/9 over 20.1 IP). If Falvey and the Twins want to take advantage of Escobar’s hot bat, now’s the time, especially with Gordon knocking on the door in AA. While Jorge Polanco has struggled in June, he is in the Twins' long-term plans. Nick Gordon is also in the Twins' long-term plans, and Escobar is not. That's why it won't matter where the Twins are in the standings come the Trade Deadline. Players will be shed to give playing time to youngsters. Escobar is the most obvious trade chip.
  23. First and foremost, there are literally hundreds of thousands of trade conversations that happen between teams throughout the season and especially as the end of July rolls around. If the Twins weren’t talking to every team about ways to improve their team, that would be extremely disappointing.Jim Bowden posted a piece called Anatomy of a Trade (Insider required) yesterday at ESPN and - to everyone’s surprise - it was fantastic. It discusses how trades come together and he goes through a hypothetical trade that takes place… and how it progresses over the course of nearly 40 days. This hypothetical trade ends with both teams coming to an agreement at the deadline. But you must keep in mind that for every one that goes through, there are probably hundreds that never grow legs and die. One conversation that I can confirm has happened - and continues to happen - is between the Twins and the Colorado Rockies. It’s still in the infant stages. In fact, the idea sprouted after an All-Star break where the Twins All-Star second baseman, Brian Dozier, and the Rockies All-Star shortstop, Troy Tulowitzki, “bonded.” As Bowden suggests in his piece, the first call is made and the initial offer is “usually lopsided and downright embarrassing.” I don’t know who made the first offer, but the Rockies’ top target is Kyle Gibson. They’ve also asked for Miguel Sano. The Twins target? Troy Tulowitzki. Where do negotiations go from here? If the Rockies insist on a top arm, there are really only a couple of options. Besides Gibson, you’d have to imagine that Jose Berrios will be brought up. And possibly Trevor May and/or Alex Meyer to a lesser extent. But as far the “headliner” goes, only Gibson and Berrios could really fit in that category. With ten days to go, this discussion could really morph in a lot of different directions. In the right deal, the Rockies would be willing to send some cash. (Seth covered Tulowitzki’s contract really well in this piece posted early today, so I don’t feel the need to re-hash it.) In any deal where money is sent, the Rockies would ask for a better return. Would the Twins have interest in acquiring other pieces from the Rockies? Both LaTroy Hawkins and John Axford could be valuable additions to the Twins bullpen. The Twins have also asked about Rockies catcher Nick Hundley, who is under contract through next season and having his best offensive season since 2011. If you’re wondering how the Rockies could deal the face of their franchise, it seems like they might be ready to move on from the duo of Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, with star 3B Nolan Arenado and All-Star 2B D.J. LaMahieu taking over. Moving Tulo, CarGo and potentially Charlie Blackmon could add a lot of valuable pieces to a franchise who has struggled almost as badly as the Twins have over the past five seasons. None of that means that a deal is going to happen. Not with the Twins or with anyone else. All things have to line up perfectly for a deal to get done. As one source familiar with the talks told me, if the Twins make it through their gauntlet-of-a-week this week, “talks will get serious and move fast.” Whether you like Tulowitzki or not, the Twins are having conversations with the intent of getting better this year. Click here to view the article
  24. Jim Bowden posted a piece called Anatomy of a Trade (Insider required) yesterday at ESPN and - to everyone’s surprise - it was fantastic. It discusses how trades come together and he goes through a hypothetical trade that takes place… and how it progresses over the course of nearly 40 days. This hypothetical trade ends with both teams coming to an agreement at the deadline. But you must keep in mind that for every one that goes through, there are probably hundreds that never grow legs and die. One conversation that I can confirm has happened - and continues to happen - is between the Twins and the Colorado Rockies. It’s still in the infant stages. In fact, the idea sprouted after an All-Star break where the Twins All-Star second baseman, Brian Dozier, and the Rockies All-Star shortstop, Troy Tulowitzki, “bonded.” As Bowden suggests in his piece, the first call is made and the initial offer is “usually lopsided and downright embarrassing.” I don’t know who made the first offer, but the Rockies’ top target is Kyle Gibson. They’ve also asked for Miguel Sano. The Twins target? Troy Tulowitzki. Where do negotiations go from here? If the Rockies insist on a top arm, there are really only a couple of options. Besides Gibson, you’d have to imagine that Jose Berrios will be brought up. And possibly Trevor May and/or Alex Meyer to a lesser extent. But as far the “headliner” goes, only Gibson and Berrios could really fit in that category. With ten days to go, this discussion could really morph in a lot of different directions. In the right deal, the Rockies would be willing to send some cash. (Seth covered Tulowitzki’s contract really well in this piece posted early today, so I don’t feel the need to re-hash it.) In any deal where money is sent, the Rockies would ask for a better return. Would the Twins have interest in acquiring other pieces from the Rockies? Both LaTroy Hawkins and John Axford could be valuable additions to the Twins bullpen. The Twins have also asked about Rockies catcher Nick Hundley, who is under contract through next season and having his best offensive season since 2011. If you’re wondering how the Rockies could deal the face of their franchise, it seems like they might be ready to move on from the duo of Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, with star 3B Nolan Arenado and All-Star 2B D.J. LaMahieu taking over. Moving Tulo, CarGo and potentially Charlie Blackmon could add a lot of valuable pieces to a franchise who has struggled almost as badly as the Twins have over the past five seasons. None of that means that a deal is going to happen. Not with the Twins or with anyone else. All things have to line up perfectly for a deal to get done. As one source familiar with the talks told me, if the Twins make it through their gauntlet-of-a-week this week, “talks will get serious and move fast.” Whether you like Tulowitzki or not, the Twins are having conversations with the intent of getting better this year.
  25. As the Twins have struggled this year, I wanted them to start trading assets for younger players who could bolster areas of weakness, like catcher and starting pitcher. And then the Twins fired GM Terry Ryan and replaced him with an interim in Rob Antony. And now I want them to cool the jets. Think about this: Antony likely has little chance at getting the permanent job. So do you really want him dealing some of the team's most tradable players? Especially given the team's recent record in trades and free agent signings? Not really. I'm not saying he'd do a bad job. I am saying that the biggest trades should be made by the person who has the permanent job. Let that person do the team building. That means that players such as Brian Dozier and Ervin Santana should not be traded now, but this offseason when the new GM is allegedly in place. Dozier, in particular, is a better offseason trade candidate than he is a deadline candidate given that no contending teams need a second baseman. If the team is correct and there aren't many pitchers of Santana's quality available on the free agent market this offseason, then perhaps the best option is to wait until the offseason, anyway, when more teams -- not just contenders -- are hoping to bolster their starting staffs. Neither, of course, may generate all that much. But outside of young players like Miguel Sano they would attract the most return. And I'd rather the new GM trade them. My hope is that Antony keeps the trades relatively minor. Find a taker for Fernando Abad. Look at what kind of return Eduardo Nunez could fetch. Trade Brandon Kintzler. Please trade Kurt Suzuki while you can get something back. But leave the big guys on the team.
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