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  1. Derek Falvey did a tremendous job of acquiring some initial relief help in the form of Sergio Romo. He looked like a fit for this club over the winter and netting him along with another intriguing prospect for a guy who was subject to 40-man addition is quite the execution. If we can expect that strength of process in future deals, then this club should be in good shape. The front office has displayed plenty of evidence that they operate at a very high level, but it’d be a massive misstep not to see it in action at least one more time. LaVelle E. Neal has reported that the Twins were looking for impact starters if they were going to make a move there. Marcus Stroman was a name they were in on, but the Toronto Blue Jays never circled back before accepting a lackluster offer. Noah Syndergaard is another name Minnesota has targeted, but the Mets wanted catalyst Byron Buxton to headline the return. Now seemingly out on starting pitching, the attention turns back to where it’s been needed all along. Romo represents a solid addition that should take some pressure off Taylor Rogers, but the next arm in needs to be another tier up. Continuing to add talent that slots in at the height of the talent pool and raises the bottom rung is the way in which Minnesota should operate. Any acquisition can’t fall in line with dart throws like Matt Magill, Mike Morin, or Blake Parker. Entering the final stretch and needing significant contributions in the Postseason, these arms need to be heavily reliable from the get-go. It’s a pretty risky proposition to ever give up significant prospect capital for relief pitching. There are some very strong options that are under team control going forward however (Kirby Yates, Felipe Vasquez, Raisel Iglesias, Edwin Diaz, etc) and asking on those pieces first should be a must. Will Smith still represents an immediate band-aid and should require a muted return given the impending free agency. Despite what the Giants think they may be, getting them to sell that piece would certainly be a win for a true contender. Trusting in the blueprint and belief from this front office it’d be hard to question anyone they see an ability to squeeze more from. Wes Johnson has gotten quite a bit out of some unexpected places this season, but time and remaining schedule are both of the essence at this point. I think there’s real reason to believe an Archie Bradley or Mychal Givens could be high level additions that more is gained from both now and in the future. The area Minnesota can’t afford to settle is in the land of Daniel Hudson. Sure, he’s available and a piece, but that’s not the type of acquisition a team preaching opportunity should be agreeing to. After suggesting all offseason that they would go when the team was ready, Falvey will have a hard time selling a smoke and mirrors arm as the final piece of the puzzle. Peripherals matter and although Hudson, or someone like him, may have strong surface numbers a significant amount of impending regression should be cause for concern. I’d circle back once or twice on the man known as Thor and see if Brodie Van Wagenen has gotten back on his rocker yet. If that is out of the question or eating salary to take on Zack Greinke isn’t an option, then adding two more relief arms is how this should work out. Go get Will Smith if you don’t feel the top-tier controllable arms are worth the squeeze. Then add in another Sergio Romo type, or someone a bit more under the radar, and call it a day. Falvey has a team that’s very close, and next to nothing they can do is going to sacrifice 2020 and beyond. Failing to capitalize on this position while other contenders push their chips towards the middle could represent the setback everyone is trying to avoid. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY Could the Twins Afford to Take on Zack Greinke’s Contract? For Enlow and Other Minor Leaguers, “No One Is Safe” At Trade Deadline Is Alex Kirilloff Expendable? Let's Make A Deal, Part III: The Ammunition Trade Deadline Thread: How Far Would You Go to Add an Ace? What Sergio Romo Brings to the Twins Bullpen
  2. A couple weeks ago we wrapped up a bullpen target series. There’s more than a handful of guys profiled, and the acquisition cost is likely going to come in all over the place on any number of names. Minnesota will need to navigate what they’re willing to give up, how much they need in return, and to what extent this year represents an “all in” moment. From my view the Twins need no less than two bullpen arms. That could be accomplished by acquiring a starter and reliever, effectively pushing Martin Perez into a lefty relief option. Despite a poor body of work as a starter last season Perez posted a 2.45 ERA across 11.0 IP as a reliever. He danced around some danger, but the cutter out of the pen gives him a new weapon and could take his effectiveness up yet another notch. Operating with the premise of two additional arms coming, these would be my choices. All In- LHP Will Smith and RHP Seth Lugo Regardless of the San Francisco Giants current hot streak they should sell. It sounds like they’ll hold onto Madison Bumgarner, but I can’t believe they’d be foolish enough to make Smith unavailable. As an impending free agent, he’s among the most attractive relievers on the market. Smith has worked as a closer for the past two seasons and has posted a 2.50 ERA across 97.1 IP. He’s a high strikeout, low walk type, and the secondary numbers suggest the 30-year-old is for real. The bidding will be tense, but this is a guy that would stabilize Minnesota almost on his own. New York is another team that needs to sell, but with a GM in over his head they are somewhat of a wild card. Brodie Van Wagenen did a terrible job with the Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz trade, so he’ll likely be more than cautious in negotiations this time around. That could make Noah Syndergaard or Edwin Diaz returns loftier than they should be, but Lugo is a guy that looks the part of an exciting piece. Under contract through 2022 and just 29-years-old, he won’t come cheap. A former starter, he’s posted a 2.76 ERA across 150.0 IP the past two seasons. Another high strikeout, low walk guy, he’d be quite the big splash. Moderate Play- RHP Ian Kennedy AND LHP Jake Diekman Purely from a return perspective I’d imagine the general consensus would be to avoid packaging players. In this instance though, I think the Royals deal these two guys together in hopes of eating a bit more money for Kennedy to drive up the return in prospect capital. Both well-traveled veterans, there’s breakout years in play here. Moved to the bullpen full time this season Kennedy is seeing a big-time breakout. He’s posted a 3.40 ERA but has a 2.16 FIP. The 11.1 K/9 is a career best and he’s walking less batters than he ever has. The velocity has already spiked up an additional two mph and that’s before he’s begun to work with the Twins Wes Johnson. As mentioned, there’s an ugly contract in play that pays him $16.5MM in 2020 but Kansas City would be expected to swallow a considerable portion of that. Diekman is the greater wild card here but the numbers suggest improvement in a better environment. A 3.36 FIP is behind a 4.75 ERA. He’s always been a strikeout guy, but 13.6 K/9 is easily a career high. The 5.0 BB/9 is concerning but you have to like a lefty with upper 90’s stuff. Jake regressed following a trade midseason a year ago, but you’d have to imagine the Twins pitching infrastructure is superior to that of the Diamondbacks. He’s a 32-year-old impending free agent and shouldn’t bump the cost significantly in a package deal. With nonexistent movement at this point, and connectable pitching dots, the Twins have been linked to every human with a live arm. We don’t know what path Falvey is going to travel down yet, but the situation in front of him is too good not to take advantage of. There are two pairings above the represent different varieties of talent commitment, but both would drastically improve Minnesota’s chances. We’re drawing closer to a conclusion on this front, and we’ll be better able to understand a future thought process once we reach that point. Who do you want to see Minnesota target? What is the best-case scenario, and are you willing to pay the price? Today's Trade Deadline Thread
  3. Over the next couple of weeks, Twins fans are going to be checking their phones and waiting for a notification. Did the club acquire a front-line starting pitcher? Could a bullpen arm or two be on the way to the Twin Cities? Even with one of baseball’s best records, Minnesota’s roster has some holes. When you look at your phone on July 31, what would be the perfect trade deadline scenario?Deadline Blueprint With one of the baseball’s best offenses, it makes sense for the Twins to focus on adding pitching before the deadline. Minnesota’s most glaring need is the bullpen. Taylor Rogers might be the AL’s most valuable reliever, but he won’t be able to pitch every postseason inning. Ryne Harper, Tyler Duffey and Zach Littell have been more than serviceable, but they might be better suited for pitching the middle innings. Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi have been leading the pitching staff, while the rest of the rotation has fit into their roles nicely. Kyle Gibson and Martin Perez have had some up and down moments throughout the year. Michael Pineda has provided an upgrade over recent fifth starters. Would you trust one of these pitchers to face the Yankees or Astros line-up in the ALDS? Ideally, the Twins would add two relief arms and a starter before the calendar turns to August. Bullpen In a perfect world, the Twins would be able to add both a right- and left-handed reliever to assist Rogers in his late inning role. There are some internal options for the Twins including two left-handed pitchers that are already on the 40-man roster. Both players would be unknowns in a relief role, so it makes sense to find someone with some experience if the price in prospects isn’t too steep. When it comes to left-handed relievers, Will Smith is the name on everyone’s list. He is currently being used as the Giants closer, but his cost might be slightly lower since he is a free agent after the season. John projected a package of Kohl Stewart and Edwar Colina for Smith. If that’s the deal on the table, I pull the trigger. For Ron Gardenhire and the Tigers, there have been few bright spots this year. However, Shane Greene has been one of the team’s best players. In 2018, he struggled in his first chance being the full-time closer. He posted a 5.12 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP with a 65 to 19 strikeout to walk ratio. For how bad he was last season, he has done a complete 180 this year. He has a microscopic 1.06 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP with 35 strikeouts and 10 walks. He’s also under team control through 2020. Starting Pitching There’s been lots of talk about Madison Bumgarner since he is a pending free agent and the Giants are likely to be sellers. One must wonder what version of Madison Bumgarner a club would receive in a trade. He’s been a World Series hero but that was half a decade ago. This season he has posted a 3.86 ERA with a 1.21 WHIP to go along with 121 strikeouts in 116 2/3 innings. Another thing to consider is Bumgarner has a lot of miles on his arm with 1755 big league innings over the last 11 seasons. Toronto’s Marcus Stroman is another potential trade target and he is younger than Bumgarner. So far this season, he has a 3.25 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP. He has 88 strikeouts in 110 2/3 innings, so Bumgarner has him beat in that category. Stroman has another year of team control as the 2020 season will be his final year of arbitration eligibility. Both above-mentioned pitchers could help the club, but I’d rather the team target Arizona’s Zack Greinke, even if he has a no-trade clause that includes the Twins. There are a few reasons I’d rather the team go after a 35-year old pitcher with a big contract. First, it would likely take fewer high-ranking prospects to acquire Greinke because of his large contract. Greinke has been very good this year with a 2.95 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP. Minnesota has the financial flexibility in the years ahead to absorb the Greinke contract. Plus, three of the Twins current starters will be free agents following the World Series. Greinke could fit in at the top of the rotation with Berrios for the next handful of seasons. If he isn’t still an ace in 2021, the Twins could still fit him in some part of their rotation. Greinke, Smith, and Greene put the Twins in better position to win October games. Who would be part of your perfect trade deadline for the Twins? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. Other Stories of Interest Internal Relief Help Could Provide Second Half Upgrade Arraez is What Minnesota Has Craved Twins Trade Rumors Roundup: Teams Pondering Selling Click here to view the article
  4. Deadline Blueprint With one of the baseball’s best offenses, it makes sense for the Twins to focus on adding pitching before the deadline. Minnesota’s most glaring need is the bullpen. Taylor Rogers might be the AL’s most valuable reliever, but he won’t be able to pitch every postseason inning. Ryne Harper, Tyler Duffey and Zach Littell have been more than serviceable, but they might be better suited for pitching the middle innings. Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi have been leading the pitching staff, while the rest of the rotation has fit into their roles nicely. Kyle Gibson and Martin Perez have had some up and down moments throughout the year. Michael Pineda has provided an upgrade over recent fifth starters. Would you trust one of these pitchers to face the Yankees or Astros line-up in the ALDS? Ideally, the Twins would add two relief arms and a starter before the calendar turns to August. Bullpen In a perfect world, the Twins would be able to add both a right- and left-handed reliever to assist Rogers in his late inning role. There are some internal options for the Twins including two left-handed pitchers that are already on the 40-man roster. Both players would be unknowns in a relief role, so it makes sense to find someone with some experience if the price in prospects isn’t too steep. When it comes to left-handed relievers, Will Smith is the name on everyone’s list. He is currently being used as the Giants closer, but his cost might be slightly lower since he is a free agent after the season. John projected a package of Kohl Stewart and Edwar Colina for Smith. If that’s the deal on the table, I pull the trigger. For Ron Gardenhire and the Tigers, there have been few bright spots this year. However, Shane Greene has been one of the team’s best players. In 2018, he struggled in his first chance being the full-time closer. He posted a 5.12 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP with a 65 to 19 strikeout to walk ratio. For how bad he was last season, he has done a complete 180 this year. He has a microscopic 1.06 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP with 35 strikeouts and 10 walks. He’s also under team control through 2020. Starting Pitching There’s been lots of talk about Madison Bumgarner since he is a pending free agent and the Giants are likely to be sellers. One must wonder what version of Madison Bumgarner a club would receive in a trade. He’s been a World Series hero but that was half a decade ago. This season he has posted a 3.86 ERA with a 1.21 WHIP to go along with 121 strikeouts in 116 2/3 innings. Another thing to consider is Bumgarner has a lot of miles on his arm with 1755 big league innings over the last 11 seasons. Toronto’s Marcus Stroman is another potential trade target and he is younger than Bumgarner. So far this season, he has a 3.25 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP. He has 88 strikeouts in 110 2/3 innings, so Bumgarner has him beat in that category. Stroman has another year of team control as the 2020 season will be his final year of arbitration eligibility. Both above-mentioned pitchers could help the club, but I’d rather the team target Arizona’s Zack Greinke, even if he has a no-trade clause that includes the Twins. There are a few reasons I’d rather the team go after a 35-year old pitcher with a big contract. First, it would likely take fewer high-ranking prospects to acquire Greinke because of his large contract. Greinke has been very good this year with a 2.95 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP. Minnesota has the financial flexibility in the years ahead to absorb the Greinke contract. Plus, three of the Twins current starters will be free agents following the World Series. Greinke could fit in at the top of the rotation with Berrios for the next handful of seasons. If he isn’t still an ace in 2021, the Twins could still fit him in some part of their rotation. Greinke, Smith, and Greene put the Twins in better position to win October games. Who would be part of your perfect trade deadline for the Twins? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. Other Stories of Interest Internal Relief Help Could Provide Second Half Upgrade Arraez is What Minnesota Has Craved Twins Trade Rumors Roundup: Teams Pondering Selling
  5. Will Smith, LHP, 29-years-old San Francisco Giants (33-43, 5th in NL West) Free Agent following 2019 season. 2018: 2.55 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 12.06 K/9, 2.55 BB/9 in 53 IP 2019: 2.01 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, 13.50 K/9, 2.01 BB/9 in 31.1 IP What’s To Like There is a lot to like about Will Smith. He has been a very effective pitcher for the majority of his career and has taken his game to the next level over the past two seasons in San Francisco. It’s no secret that the Giants are not a very good team but when they have had opportunities to win, Will Smith has done an excellent job locking them down. He has converted all twenty of his save opportunities this year and his numbers get even more impressive than that. It is not uncommon for left-handed pitchers, relievers especially, to struggle against right-handed hitters. That has not been the case for Smith. His season splits are very favorable against left and right-handed hitters. In 2019 right-handed hitters have hit .152/.212/.278 compared to .172/.200/.276 for left-handed hitters when facing Will Smith. Oracle Park in San Francisco has forever been one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in the league. ESPN currently has Oracle Park ranked as the 24th best park for scoring runs. One might assume that Will Smith has benefited from pitching in such a pitcher-friendly ballpark, but his home/road splits are very favorable as well. In 13 ⅓ innings away from Oracle Park, Will Smith has held batters to a very pedestrian .070/.111/.233 while raking up 27 K and a minuscule 1.35 ERA. Concerns As discussed above, there is a whole lot to like about Will Smith, but that doesn’t mean he comes without any concerns. Smith missed all of 2017 rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and even though he has pitched well since returning to the mound, the surgery is still worth mentioning. The surgery is not the only concern either. He will become a free agent after this season so acquiring Smith will very likely be a rental acquisition, unless Minnesota is able to negotiate a longer term contract before the season ends. Another concern with Smith is not about his on-field body of work, but rather the price to acquire his talents. Highly effective left-handed relievers are a hot commodity at the trade deadline and with San Francisco in a rebuild, they will very likely be seeking a hefty exchange for Smith. The last concern with Smith is his second half stats from 2018. Overall on the season he pitched very well but he did struggle a bit in the second half. Over the second half of 2018, opposing hitters were a combined .231/.293/.363 compared to .160/.211/.210 in the first half. His ERA also ballooned to 4.18 in the second half compared to his 1.23 ERA in the first half. His 2018 second half struggles could be a reason to pause or possibly pass on Smith given the uncertainty of how he will perform in the second half of 2019. But what he’s done so far this season is nothing short of impressive and he is certainly a very legitimate trade target for the Minnesota Twins. See Also Liam Hendriks, RHP, Athletics Ty Buttrey, RHP, Angels Ken Giles, RHP, Blue Jays Sam Dyson, RHP, Giants Brad Hand, LHP, Indians Oliver Perez, LHP Cleveland Robert Stephenson, RHP, Reds John Gant, RHP, Cardinals Alex Colome, RHP, White Sox Seth Lugo, RHP, Mets Greg Holland, RHP, Diamondbacks Sean Doolittle, LHP, Nationals Kirby Yates, RHP, Padres 10 Relievers Minnesota Could Target
  6. LHP Jake Diekman, Kansas City 2019 Stats: 4.10 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 39 K, 26.1 IP Diekman’s 13.3 K/9 rate seems made for the post-season and some of his other peripheral numbers look better than his high ERA and WHIP. He has a $5.75 million club option for 2020, so he wouldn’t have to be a rental player. He also seems to be healthy after dealing with ulcerative colitis, a chronic disease of the colon. Since Diekman is on an AL Central squad, it could be tough to swing a deal. Does Minnesota want to send prospect that they could end up facing multiple times a season? RHP Ken Giles, Toronto 2019 Stats: 1.08 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 42 K, 25.0 IP Giles has been closing games for Houston and Philadelphia for the last five seasons and he might be amid the best season of his career. He entered the year with a career mark of 11.9 K/9 and he has exploded to 15.1 K/9 this season. Giles has one more year of arbitration as he signed this year for $6.3 million. Back in 2017, he struggled with the Astros on the way to the World Series title. This still doesn’t mean he can’t help a team win in 2019. RHP Mychal Givens, Baltimore 2019 Stats: 5.00 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 37 K, 27.0 IP Givens might not have the eye-popping numbers of some of the other names on this list but that doesn’t mean he should be ignored. His 12.3 K/9 total is a career high. Over the last three seasons, he has posted a 3.29 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP with 10.3 K/9. This season, he has struggled with the long ball as he has surrendered six home runs in 23 appearances. He is still arbitration eligible and the earliest he can be a free agent is 2022. RHP Shane Greene, Detroit 2019 Stats: 1.04 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 28 K, 26.0 IP Minnesota got a close-up look at Greene this weekend and has an AL leading 19 saves. He’s putting up career numbers, which might seem like a surprise when looking at the last three seasons. Since switching to the bullpen full-time in 2016, he has a 4.47 ERA with a 1.31 WHIP and 9.3 K/9. He will still be arbitration eligible in 2020 as he signed this season for $4 million. He’s a member of another AL Central foe, so Minnesota might look to other options. LHP Brad Hand, Cleveland 2019 Stats: 0.98 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, 40 K, 27.2 IP Some of the names on this list would be rental players, but Hand doesn’t fit into that category. He is signed through 2020 with a club option for 2021. This will make him very intriguing to contending clubs. Minnesota needs another lefty to go with Taylor Rogers in the bullpen and Hand could fit that mold. Over the last three seasons, he’s posted a 2.62 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP with a 12.0 K/9. Since he’s with Cleveland, Minnesota might not want to make an in-division trade and Cleveland’s asking price could be high. RHP Greg Holland, Arizona 2019 Stats: 1.31 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 28 K, 20.2 IP Holland is a familiar name to Twins fans as he was Kansas City’s closer for the first half of this decade. Tommy John surgery cost him the 2016 season and this year might be the first time he is back to his pre-surgery form. His 12.2 K/9 rate is his highest total since 2014. He has playoff experience as part of Kansas City’s trip to the 2014 World Series and he pitched in the 2017 NL Wild Card Game with Colorado. He’s a free agent at season’s end, so he could be a cheaper option than some of the other names on this list. RHP Sergio Romo, Miami 2019 Stats: 5.48 ERA, 1.43 ERA, 21 K, 23.0 IP Romo has the most playoff experience of anyone on this list. He was part of three World Series titles in San Francisco and has pitched in 27 playoff games. From 2016-2018, he posted a 3.63 ERA with a 1.17 WHIP and 9.8 K/9. Romo signed a cheap one-year, $2.5 million contract with Miami this off-season so there would be very little financial commitment to him. He also wouldn’t cost a lot to acquire. However, his decreased strikeout rate from 10.0 K/9 to 8.2 K/9 is concerning. LHP Will Smith, San Francisco 2019 Stats: 2.19 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, 35 K, 24.2 IP Smith is in his second season back from Tommy John surgery and his performance seems to have seen few ill-effects. Over the last two seasons, he has posted a 2.43 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP with a 12.3 K/9. Even though he’s left-handed, Smith has been successful against righties and lefties as he has held righties to a .487 OPS and lefties to a .399 OPS. Smith will be a free agent this winter so it will be interesting to see what kind of deal the Giants will be able to get for him. LHP Felipe Vazquez, Pittsburgh 2019 Stats: 2.30 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 43 K, 27.1 IP Vazquez might come with one of the highest asking prices on this list. He is potentially under team control through 2023. This means, Pittsburgh would need to be overwhelmed in any kind of offer for their left-handed closer. He took over as the Pirates full-time closer in 2017. During that stretch, he has compiled a 2.19 ERA with a 1.08 WHIP and a 11.5 K/9. Minnesota has some depth in their system, but it seems unlikely for them to deal an elite prospect. LHP Tony Watson, San Francisco 2019 Stats: 2.55 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 21 K, 24.2 IP Watson might be a name that is a little more unfamiliar to Twins fans. He’s pitched his entire career in the NL for the Pirates, Dodgers, and Giants. As a lefty, Watson is more than just a LOOGY. He has averaged over 70 innings pitched from 2013-2018 and he posted a career high 9.8 K/9 last season. His strikeout numbers have dipped a little this season (7.7 K/9) so that might be a cause for concern. Watson has a $2.5 million player option for 2020 or he could test the free agent waters. Who do you think the Twins should target? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  7. As we approach the trade deadline - What? It’s only a little over two months away - there are a number of moves the Twins could and possibly should consider to help enhance their ability to make a deep run into the playoffs. But before we jump into those names, let’s examine who (or what?) other teams will be asking about. Let’s assume, too, that the Twins will make top-5 prospect Royce Lewis, top-15 prospect Alex Kirilloff and top pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol off limits.Some other things to consider, in all the moves the Twins made last year - Eduardo Escobar, Ryan Pressly, Zach Duke, Lance Lynn, Brian Dozier and Fernando Rodney - they only took back three players (of 13) that were already on the 40-man. None of those three players remain on the 40-man and only one, Chase DeJong, who has been removed from the 40-man twice since being acquired, is still in the organization. Acting in such a way gives the sellers more opportunities to both evaluate their current roster and be active on the waiver wire. It would be fair to believe sellers in the current market would look at doing the same type of thing. As I mentioned in a Finer Points article, many of the Twins acquisitions came with one more year before needing to be added to the 40-man roster. The Twins could face a roster crunch in getting these players onto their 40-man in November. Could that lead to some of those players who were acquired last year being flipped? Or could it lead to more aggressively pursuing players as rentals, knowing that they can replace them with some of their better prospects? Those are questions we don’t have answers to, but when the Twins call or take a call, what names are they going to be hearing on the other end? SS Wander Javier Born: 12/29/1998 (20 years old) Current level: Extended Spring Training Why would he be targeted? Javier was a top prospect in the 2015 international class and, despite spending a significant amount of time injured, has enhanced his prospect status with his performance in the Appy League in 2017. Javier is expected to join the Kernels as soon as his body is ready. Why should the Twins consider moving him? With Jorge Polanco’s entrenched at shortstop and possessing a long-term deal, the Twins are good at one of the middle infield spots (whether you believe he can stick at shortstop or needs to move to second). Royce Lewis is higher up the organizational ladder and Luis Arraez is showing his bat plays at the major league level. Moving Javier would be dealing from depth. Javier is a player that would need to be added to the 40-man in November. Other thoughts: How much value does Nick Gordon have? He’s currently taking up a 40-man spot and hasn’t spent a lot of time on the field in 2019. Will Luis Arraez’s value ever be higher? Moving any of these three middle infielders doesn’t deliver a huge blow to the team’s depth. C Ben Rortvedt Born: 9/25/1997 (21 years old) Current level: Pensacola (AA) Why would he be targeted? Rortvedt is the highest-ceiling catching prospect in the system and he’s only two promotions from the big leagues. An outstanding defensive catcher, Rortvedt, at a minimum, is a future bench piece on a major league team. He’s progressing offensively, with a keen eye at the plate and a chance to have an average or better hit tool. Additionally, Rortvedt would not need to be added to the 40-man roster until November of 2020, when he should definitely be ready to compete for a big-league job. Why should the Twins consider moving him? Though Jason Castro is a free agent at year’s end, we have realized that Mitch Garver is the real deal. Garver also entered the year with just over a year of service time, so he can be the primary catcher for the next five years. There should be little worry about the position in the short-term, despite the overall lack of depth in the system currently. OF Trevor Larnach Born: 2/26/1997 (22 years old) Current level: Fort Myers (high-A) Why would he be targeted? Any team can look at the Twins outfield and know it’s going to be tough to break into the lineup there. Top outfield prospect, Alex Kirilloff, is getting work at first base. So where does that leave this outfield prospect? As an asset who doesn’t need to be added to the 40-man until after the 2021 season. Why should the Twins consider moving him? Mainly for the same reasons other teams would ask about him. He’s a luxury. Other thoughts: Luke Raley and Brent Rooker fit in the same category, for the most part. Both are currently on the injured list and Rooker has not had a good start to the his 2019 campaign. Raley would require a more immediate decision (2019 eligible) than Rooker (2020), but neither player has a clear path to the majors. Could Jake Cave be a trade chip? I think he proved last year that he is certainly capable of being an everyday centerfielder. P Jordan Balazovic Born: 9/17/1988 (20 years old) Current level: Fort Myers (high-A) Why would he be targeted? The prospect that would hurt the most to deal is going to be the one most coveted. That’s how this works. Balazovic went from “barely on the radar” to “whoa!” over the course of seven A-ball starts this season. It would be hard to leave him out of the organization's Top 6 or 7 prospects right now and he’s probably becoming a Top 70 prospect league-wide. That is, if he continues on this torrid streak. Why should the Twins consider moving him? The Twins know him better than anyone and if they feel this isn’t close to sustainable, they could sell high. In between Balazovic and a big-league rotation spot, there are a number of other starters, albeit with less ceiling. Other thoughts: Balazovic (2020 eligible) isn’t the only high ceiling pitching prospect in the stable. Pensacola pitcher Jorge Alcala (2019), Fort Myers’ pitcher Jhoan Duran (2019) and Kernels pitcher Blayne Enlow (2021) could all tickle someone’s fancy. Obviously, there are others that could be included as well. But the Twins have another pretty enormous trade chip too. Competitive Balance Round A Draft Pick #39 Pool allotment: $1,906,800 Part of the reason that I wanted to push this out well before the trade deadline is because the Twins only have a handful of days to use this asset in a trade. Competitive Balance picks are the only ones that can be traded and obviously have to be moved before the draft. Five of the 12 awarded picks for the 2019 draft have already been moved. The Yankees traded Sonny Gray and a prospect for pick #38 and a prospect. The #40 pick moved from the A’s to the Rays in the deal that netted the A’s Jurickson Profar. The Rangers traded bullpen piece Alex Claudio to the Brewers for pick #41. The Diamondbacks acquired a Comp Round B pick from the Cardinals in the Paul Goldschmidt trade. The Marines also acquired a Comp Round B pick from the Indians in the their Edwin Encarnacion/Carlos Santana/Tampa Bay trade. As you can see, there is plenty of value in a Comp Round A pick. But it’s more than just the pick itself, it’s the money that’s attached to it. Giving yourself an extra nearly $2 million can benefit teams in a number of ways. Want another really good prospect? You got it. Want to get more creative and push a guy down the board ala Sean Manaea or Dax Cameron? You got that too. (Yeah, I know, the Diamondbacks are kings of this draft and draft four times before pick #39… but maybe they want in on this action?) The Twins might not be able to get Will Smith straight up for this pick, but it would go a long way. The Reds definitely wouldn’t give up Rasiel Iglesias for just the pick, but again… it would be a nice piece. The Nationals and Sean Doolittle, now that’s reasonable. Or maybe they aim higher. What do you think? Click here to view the article
  8. Some other things to consider, in all the moves the Twins made last year - Eduardo Escobar, Ryan Pressly, Zach Duke, Lance Lynn, Brian Dozier and Fernando Rodney - they only took back three players (of 13) that were already on the 40-man. None of those three players remain on the 40-man and only one, Chase DeJong, who has been removed from the 40-man twice since being acquired, is still in the organization. Acting in such a way gives the sellers more opportunities to both evaluate their current roster and be active on the waiver wire. It would be fair to believe sellers in the current market would look at doing the same type of thing. As I mentioned in a Finer Points article, many of the Twins acquisitions came with one more year before needing to be added to the 40-man roster. The Twins could face a roster crunch in getting these players onto their 40-man in November. Could that lead to some of those players who were acquired last year being flipped? Or could it lead to more aggressively pursuing players as rentals, knowing that they can replace them with some of their better prospects? Those are questions we don’t have answers to, but when the Twins call or take a call, what names are they going to be hearing on the other end? SS Wander Javier Born: 12/29/1998 (20 years old) Current level: Extended Spring Training Why would he be targeted? Javier was a top prospect in the 2015 international class and, despite spending a significant amount of time injured, has enhanced his prospect status with his performance in the Appy League in 2017. Javier is expected to join the Kernels as soon as his body is ready. Why should the Twins consider moving him? With Jorge Polanco’s entrenched at shortstop and possessing a long-term deal, the Twins are good at one of the middle infield spots (whether you believe he can stick at shortstop or needs to move to second). Royce Lewis is higher up the organizational ladder and Luis Arraez is showing his bat plays at the major league level. Moving Javier would be dealing from depth. Javier is a player that would need to be added to the 40-man in November. Other thoughts: How much value does Nick Gordon have? He’s currently taking up a 40-man spot and hasn’t spent a lot of time on the field in 2019. Will Luis Arraez’s value ever be higher? Moving any of these three middle infielders doesn’t deliver a huge blow to the team’s depth. C Ben Rortvedt Born: 9/25/1997 (21 years old) Current level: Pensacola (AA) Why would he be targeted? Rortvedt is the highest-ceiling catching prospect in the system and he’s only two promotions from the big leagues. An outstanding defensive catcher, Rortvedt, at a minimum, is a future bench piece on a major league team. He’s progressing offensively, with a keen eye at the plate and a chance to have an average or better hit tool. Additionally, Rortvedt would not need to be added to the 40-man roster until November of 2020, when he should definitely be ready to compete for a big-league job. Why should the Twins consider moving him? Though Jason Castro is a free agent at year’s end, we have realized that Mitch Garver is the real deal. Garver also entered the year with just over a year of service time, so he can be the primary catcher for the next five years. There should be little worry about the position in the short-term, despite the overall lack of depth in the system currently. OF Trevor Larnach Born: 2/26/1997 (22 years old) Current level: Fort Myers (high-A) Why would he be targeted? Any team can look at the Twins outfield and know it’s going to be tough to break into the lineup there. Top outfield prospect, Alex Kirilloff, is getting work at first base. So where does that leave this outfield prospect? As an asset who doesn’t need to be added to the 40-man until after the 2021 season. Why should the Twins consider moving him? Mainly for the same reasons other teams would ask about him. He’s a luxury. Other thoughts: Luke Raley and Brent Rooker fit in the same category, for the most part. Both are currently on the injured list and Rooker has not had a good start to the his 2019 campaign. Raley would require a more immediate decision (2019 eligible) than Rooker (2020), but neither player has a clear path to the majors. Could Jake Cave be a trade chip? I think he proved last year that he is certainly capable of being an everyday centerfielder. P Jordan Balazovic Born: 9/17/1988 (20 years old) Current level: Fort Myers (high-A) Why would he be targeted? The prospect that would hurt the most to deal is going to be the one most coveted. That’s how this works. Balazovic went from “barely on the radar” to “whoa!” over the course of seven A-ball starts this season. It would be hard to leave him out of the organization's Top 6 or 7 prospects right now and he’s probably becoming a Top 70 prospect league-wide. That is, if he continues on this torrid streak. Why should the Twins consider moving him? The Twins know him better than anyone and if they feel this isn’t close to sustainable, they could sell high. In between Balazovic and a big-league rotation spot, there are a number of other starters, albeit with less ceiling. Other thoughts: Balazovic (2020 eligible) isn’t the only high ceiling pitching prospect in the stable. Pensacola pitcher Jorge Alcala (2019), Fort Myers’ pitcher Jhoan Duran (2019) and Kernels pitcher Blayne Enlow (2021) could all tickle someone’s fancy. Obviously, there are others that could be included as well. But the Twins have another pretty enormous trade chip too. Competitive Balance Round A Draft Pick #39 Pool allotment: $1,906,800 Part of the reason that I wanted to push this out well before the trade deadline is because the Twins only have a handful of days to use this asset in a trade. Competitive Balance picks are the only ones that can be traded and obviously have to be moved before the draft. Five of the 12 awarded picks for the 2019 draft have already been moved. The Yankees traded Sonny Gray and a prospect for pick #38 and a prospect. The #40 pick moved from the A’s to the Rays in the deal that netted the A’s Jurickson Profar. The Rangers traded bullpen piece Alex Claudio to the Brewers for pick #41. The Diamondbacks acquired a Comp Round B pick from the Cardinals in the Paul Goldschmidt trade. The Marines also acquired a Comp Round B pick from the Indians in the their Edwin Encarnacion/Carlos Santana/Tampa Bay trade. As you can see, there is plenty of value in a Comp Round A pick. But it’s more than just the pick itself, it’s the money that’s attached to it. Giving yourself an extra nearly $2 million can benefit teams in a number of ways. Want another really good prospect? You got it. Want to get more creative and push a guy down the board ala Sean Manaea or Dax Cameron? You got that too. (Yeah, I know, the Diamondbacks are kings of this draft and draft four times before pick #39… but maybe they want in on this action?) The Twins might not be able to get Will Smith straight up for this pick, but it would go a long way. The Reds definitely wouldn’t give up Rasiel Iglesias for just the pick, but again… it would be a nice piece. The Nationals and Sean Doolittle, now that’s reasonable. Or maybe they aim higher. What do you think?
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