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  1. Although this is trade deadline season, roster decisions aren’t just going to be made from the perspective of adding talent. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine will be tasked with figuring out which players make sense on the active roster now, and who they see as needing to be a part of the future. Considering three external options and one internal, which of the four following scenarios winds up being the most seismic move made in Twins Territory over the next week? 1. Miguel Sano gets DFA’d Having last played on April 30 and then undergoing knee surgery, Sano has found himself working his way back yet again. He began a rehab assignment on July 4 and posted a very strong 1.217 OPS across 12 games in his 20 allowable days. The biggest detractor for any team being interested in acquiring Sano is the correlation between production and pay. He’s still owed something north of $6 million combining the duration of this season and his buyout. Minnesota could swallow some of that when trying to find a trade partner, but he could also be a candidate to be DFA’d. Sano has had ups and downs in a Twins uniform, but leaving in a season having played less than 25 games and with a sub .500 OPS would be about as low as it gets. 2. A Frontline Starter is Acquired Fans have been clamoring since the offseason for Minnesota to acquire top-tier pitching. Sonny Gray qualified as that when the front office flipped former first-round pick Chase Petty. It’s clear that this rotation could use someone of equal or similar-ilk when looking towards the Postseason. There are not exactly that many names out there to be had, but this group would look like a deal for Frankie Montas, a pact for Luis Castillo, acquiring Tyler Mahle, or potentially netting Blake Snell. There are other starters that will be moved, but it’s hard to come up with many more names that will reach this level. 3. High-Leverage Relief is Grabbed Alongside a starter, Minnesota absolutely needs help in the bullpen. It’s been one of the worst units in the league for significant stretches this season, and outside of Jhoan Duran, the group has largely been shuffling deck chairs. It’s good that Tyler Duffey seems to have turned a corner, and maybe someone else emerges down the stretch, but it’s hard to view Jorge Alcala as a potential to return prominently at this point. A reliever in this category would be along the lines of Pirates All-Star David Bednar or Rockies closer Daniel Bard. If the Twins are going to be serious about the bullpen, they need a mate for Duran and someone that can confidently eat outs in the late innings. 4. Shock the Lineup With a Bat Arguably one of the hottest and coldest things for Rocco Baldelli’s club this season has been the lineup and run production. The worst position on the roster offensively has been behind the plate, and that was before Ryan Jeffers suffered a two-month injury. There aren't a ton of places for the Twins to prioritize a bat, but a backstop could be it. Willson Contreras is all but certain to be moved by the Cubs, and although it’s a luxury, man would that elevate Minnesota on both sides of the ball. Bovada also tabbed Minnesota as favorites to acquire the Nationals Jose Bell, which would be an odd fit, but he’s certainly been great this season. Which of these scenarios would be most surprising to you? Which one seems most likely?
  2. The Minnesota Twins are guaranteed to be active during the next week. They have some significant roster decisions to address, both from an internal and talent acquisition standpoint. Looking at a few possibilities, all of the options could send substantial waves throughout the organization. Although this is trade deadline season, roster decisions aren’t just going to be made from the perspective of adding talent. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine will be tasked with figuring out which players make sense on the active roster now, and who they see as needing to be a part of the future. Considering three external options and one internal, which of the four following scenarios winds up being the most seismic move made in Twins Territory over the next week? 1. Miguel Sano gets DFA’d Having last played on April 30 and then undergoing knee surgery, Sano has found himself working his way back yet again. He began a rehab assignment on July 4 and posted a very strong 1.217 OPS across 12 games in his 20 allowable days. The biggest detractor for any team being interested in acquiring Sano is the correlation between production and pay. He’s still owed something north of $6 million combining the duration of this season and his buyout. Minnesota could swallow some of that when trying to find a trade partner, but he could also be a candidate to be DFA’d. Sano has had ups and downs in a Twins uniform, but leaving in a season having played less than 25 games and with a sub .500 OPS would be about as low as it gets. 2. A Frontline Starter is Acquired Fans have been clamoring since the offseason for Minnesota to acquire top-tier pitching. Sonny Gray qualified as that when the front office flipped former first-round pick Chase Petty. It’s clear that this rotation could use someone of equal or similar-ilk when looking towards the Postseason. There are not exactly that many names out there to be had, but this group would look like a deal for Frankie Montas, a pact for Luis Castillo, acquiring Tyler Mahle, or potentially netting Blake Snell. There are other starters that will be moved, but it’s hard to come up with many more names that will reach this level. 3. High-Leverage Relief is Grabbed Alongside a starter, Minnesota absolutely needs help in the bullpen. It’s been one of the worst units in the league for significant stretches this season, and outside of Jhoan Duran, the group has largely been shuffling deck chairs. It’s good that Tyler Duffey seems to have turned a corner, and maybe someone else emerges down the stretch, but it’s hard to view Jorge Alcala as a potential to return prominently at this point. A reliever in this category would be along the lines of Pirates All-Star David Bednar or Rockies closer Daniel Bard. If the Twins are going to be serious about the bullpen, they need a mate for Duran and someone that can confidently eat outs in the late innings. 4. Shock the Lineup With a Bat Arguably one of the hottest and coldest things for Rocco Baldelli’s club this season has been the lineup and run production. The worst position on the roster offensively has been behind the plate, and that was before Ryan Jeffers suffered a two-month injury. There aren't a ton of places for the Twins to prioritize a bat, but a backstop could be it. Willson Contreras is all but certain to be moved by the Cubs, and although it’s a luxury, man would that elevate Minnesota on both sides of the ball. Bovada also tabbed Minnesota as favorites to acquire the Nationals Jose Bell, which would be an odd fit, but he’s certainly been great this season. Which of these scenarios would be most surprising to you? Which one seems most likely? View full article
  3. Minnesota’s trade deadline shopping list should include multiple pitchers, but that doesn’t mean other parts of the roster can’t be addressed. Here are five veteran catchers expected to be available at the deadline. Ryan Jeffers’ recent thumb surgery will sideline him for up to two months, which may force the Twins to seek a veteran catcher to join Gary Sanchez. Caleb Hamilton will get the first chance to serve in a backup role, but the Twins may want someone with more big-league experience for the stretch run. Each of the catchers below comes with a different cost, and that is certainly something the team will have to factor into any decision. Tucker Barnhart, Tigers Sometimes trades in the same division can be challenging, but Tucker Barnhart isn’t going to cost a lot to acquire. He is a pending free agent, but he’s caught most of his team’s games for six of the last seven seasons. In 2022, he has hit .211/.270/.246 (.516) with six doubles across 61 games. Behind the plate, his framing ranks in the 72nd percentile. He is a backup at this point in his career, but he should be cheap for a team to acquire. Willson Contreras, Cubs Willson Contreras will likely be the best catcher dealt before the deadline. He’s a three-time All-Star, and he’s having arguably his best offensive season. In the season’s first half, he hit .253/.366/.455 (.821) with 17 doubles, 13 home runs, and a career-high 130 OPS+. He is not known as a strong defensive catcher, but his bat makes up for any defensive flaws. Contreras is a pending free agent, so a team is acquiring two months of his services. He will likely cost more prospect capital than the Twins are willing to use. Yan Gomes, Cubs Another catcher to consider on the Cubs is Yan Gomes. Unlike Contreras, he is under team control through 2024 for $6 million per season. Gomes has been an above-average catcher throughout his career, but he is 34 years old and might be relegated to backup duties. His pop time to second base ranks in the 71st percentile, and his framing ranks in the 55th percentile. During the 2022 season, he is hitting .213/.231/.311 (.542) with seven doubles and three home runs in 51 games. Sean Murphy, Athletics Sean Murphy might be the most intriguing name on this list, especially if the Twins are also interested in acquiring Oakland’s Frankie Montas. Murphy is pre-arbitration eligible and is under team control through the 2025 season. In 87 games this season, he is hitting .241/.314/.413 (.726) with 22 doubles and ten home runs. Defensively, he is one of baseball’s best backstops as his pop time and framing rank in the 88th percentile or higher. Kurt Suzuki, Angels Another cheap catching option is old friend Kurt Suzuki. In his age-38 season, he has a .546 OPS and a 56 OPS+, so it’s not clear home much he has left in the tank. Defense has never been his calling card, but he’s a familiar name to this organization. Suzuki should cost very little to acquire. Do you think the Twins should target any of these catchers before the deadline? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  4. Ryan Jeffers’ recent thumb surgery will sideline him for up to two months, which may force the Twins to seek a veteran catcher to join Gary Sanchez. Caleb Hamilton will get the first chance to serve in a backup role, but the Twins may want someone with more big-league experience for the stretch run. Each of the catchers below comes with a different cost, and that is certainly something the team will have to factor into any decision. Tucker Barnhart, Tigers Sometimes trades in the same division can be challenging, but Tucker Barnhart isn’t going to cost a lot to acquire. He is a pending free agent, but he’s caught most of his team’s games for six of the last seven seasons. In 2022, he has hit .211/.270/.246 (.516) with six doubles across 61 games. Behind the plate, his framing ranks in the 72nd percentile. He is a backup at this point in his career, but he should be cheap for a team to acquire. Willson Contreras, Cubs Willson Contreras will likely be the best catcher dealt before the deadline. He’s a three-time All-Star, and he’s having arguably his best offensive season. In the season’s first half, he hit .253/.366/.455 (.821) with 17 doubles, 13 home runs, and a career-high 130 OPS+. He is not known as a strong defensive catcher, but his bat makes up for any defensive flaws. Contreras is a pending free agent, so a team is acquiring two months of his services. He will likely cost more prospect capital than the Twins are willing to use. Yan Gomes, Cubs Another catcher to consider on the Cubs is Yan Gomes. Unlike Contreras, he is under team control through 2024 for $6 million per season. Gomes has been an above-average catcher throughout his career, but he is 34 years old and might be relegated to backup duties. His pop time to second base ranks in the 71st percentile, and his framing ranks in the 55th percentile. During the 2022 season, he is hitting .213/.231/.311 (.542) with seven doubles and three home runs in 51 games. Sean Murphy, Athletics Sean Murphy might be the most intriguing name on this list, especially if the Twins are also interested in acquiring Oakland’s Frankie Montas. Murphy is pre-arbitration eligible and is under team control through the 2025 season. In 87 games this season, he is hitting .241/.314/.413 (.726) with 22 doubles and ten home runs. Defensively, he is one of baseball’s best backstops as his pop time and framing rank in the 88th percentile or higher. Kurt Suzuki, Angels Another cheap catching option is old friend Kurt Suzuki. In his age-38 season, he has a .546 OPS and a 56 OPS+, so it’s not clear home much he has left in the tank. Defense has never been his calling card, but he’s a familiar name to this organization. Suzuki should cost very little to acquire. Do you think the Twins should target any of these catchers before the deadline? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  5. The Cubs didn't even feign an attempt at contention this year, so they're right where they expected to be. In the cellar, and acting as sellers. So who's available? The Cubs need pitching, and specifically, they need to add young pitchers with upside. The Twins have a few of those. Top Target David Robertson, RH Reliever In 2019, it looked like injuries were going to curtail an illustrious career as closer and setup man. For a decade, Robertson had been one of the best in the biz. He underwent Tommy John surgery and it looked like the end of the road. But he wasn't done. One year ago, the 37-year-old was the closer for Team USA in the Olympics in Tokyo, helping the team to a silver medal. He was a free agent and pitched a couple of games for Frank Viola’s High Point pitching staff in the independent Atlantic League. After the Olympics, he signed with the Rays and joined the team on September 1st. He turned that opportunity into one-year contract with the Cubs. As of the All-Star break, he had a dazzling 1.93 ERA and 11.6 K/9 rate as the team’s closer, appearing to be very much back to form. He'll be one of the most sought-after targets on the deadline market. Other Targets of Interest Willson Contreras, Catcher Contreras is the other big piece for the Cubs to deal at the deadline. The 30-year-old is a free agent at season’s end and one of the top backstops in the game. Good hitter, tons of power, and solid defense. But should the Twins spend any resources on a catcher (or any non-pitcher) at this point? The Ryan Jeffers injury might change their view on this. You're reading an excerpt of the 2022's Twins Daily Trade Deadline Primer about potential trade targets that we are providing free to Twins Daily's Caretakers. If you sign up now to be a Caretaker, you can download all six Divisional Dossiers as they're released, including the full version of this one, which we sent out to Caretakers earlier today. Plus, you'll get a free Offseason Handbook this fall and other perks. More importantly, you're helping support the writers and workers that make Twins Daily possible and keeping it viable for future generations of Twins fans. Thanks! Mychal Givens, RH Reliever Veteran reliever with a ton of late-innings experience. Fastball velocity down to 94 MPH average, but also has a slider and a changeup. Sleeper Target Marcus Stroman, RH Starter The Twins were not in on Marcus Stroman before he signed his three-year, $71 million with the Cubs – to the lament of many fans. He recently came off the IL with a shoulder issue, and he has struggled this year. He’s also got about $50 million left over the remainder of his contract. If healthy (a big if), Stroman can provide good innings, and maybe even be a postseason difference-maker. Huge risk, but maybe the Cubs would take on some of the contract for a better prospect. View full article
  6. The Cubs need pitching, and specifically, they need to add young pitchers with upside. The Twins have a few of those. Top Target David Robertson, RH Reliever In 2019, it looked like injuries were going to curtail an illustrious career as closer and setup man. For a decade, Robertson had been one of the best in the biz. He underwent Tommy John surgery and it looked like the end of the road. But he wasn't done. One year ago, the 37-year-old was the closer for Team USA in the Olympics in Tokyo, helping the team to a silver medal. He was a free agent and pitched a couple of games for Frank Viola’s High Point pitching staff in the independent Atlantic League. After the Olympics, he signed with the Rays and joined the team on September 1st. He turned that opportunity into one-year contract with the Cubs. As of the All-Star break, he had a dazzling 1.93 ERA and 11.6 K/9 rate as the team’s closer, appearing to be very much back to form. He'll be one of the most sought-after targets on the deadline market. Other Targets of Interest Willson Contreras, Catcher Contreras is the other big piece for the Cubs to deal at the deadline. The 30-year-old is a free agent at season’s end and one of the top backstops in the game. Good hitter, tons of power, and solid defense. But should the Twins spend any resources on a catcher (or any non-pitcher) at this point? The Ryan Jeffers injury might change their view on this. You're reading an excerpt of the 2022's Twins Daily Trade Deadline Primer about potential trade targets that we are providing free to Twins Daily's Caretakers. If you sign up now to be a Caretaker, you can download all six Divisional Dossiers as they're released, including the full version of this one, which we sent out to Caretakers earlier today. Plus, you'll get a free Offseason Handbook this fall and other perks. More importantly, you're helping support the writers and workers that make Twins Daily possible and keeping it viable for future generations of Twins fans. Thanks! Mychal Givens, RH Reliever Veteran reliever with a ton of late-innings experience. Fastball velocity down to 94 MPH average, but also has a slider and a changeup. Sleeper Target Marcus Stroman, RH Starter The Twins were not in on Marcus Stroman before he signed his three-year, $71 million with the Cubs – to the lament of many fans. He recently came off the IL with a shoulder issue, and he has struggled this year. He’s also got about $50 million left over the remainder of his contract. If healthy (a big if), Stroman can provide good innings, and maybe even be a postseason difference-maker. Huge risk, but maybe the Cubs would take on some of the contract for a better prospect.
  7. You sent over some good Minnesota Twins questions and topics of discussion, here are my answers. Carlos Correa, Willson Contreras, Juan Soto trades, building a World Series roster, Luis Castillo trades and bullpen prospects/general relief help were among the topics discussed. View full video
  8. You sent over some good Minnesota Twins questions and topics of discussion, here are my answers. Carlos Correa, Willson Contreras, Juan Soto trades, building a World Series roster, Luis Castillo trades and bullpen prospects/general relief help were among the topics discussed.
  9. Coming into this season, it was clear there was a changing of the guard behind the plate for the Minnesota Twins. Mitch Garver was sent to the Texas Rangers in exchange for Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and Gary Sanchez was acquired from the New York Yankees. Now halfway into the year, it’s the one position where offensive production is lacking. Ryan Jeffers was seen as a bat-first player when the Twins drafted him, and there were questions as to whether he’d ever stick behind the plate. Fast forward to where we are now, and Jeffers has turned himself into one of the better receivers across the league. Unfortunately, the bat that played over 26 games in 2021 has been nonexistent the past two seasons. Garver and Jeffers split time last season, with the latter getting in 85 games. Across 293 plate appearances for the Twins last season, Jeffers put up a .670 OPS which translated to an 84 OPS+. In 206 plate appearances thus far this season he owns a lesser .666 OPS but given offensive decline as a whole, that translates to a better 92 OPS+. That means Jeffers has failed to be a league-average hitter for either of the past two seasons. The Twins Trade Manifesto: 49 Possible Deadline Targets Maybe that works as his framing plays, but it’s not as though Jeffers is a stalwart in all areas with the glove. Jeffers has already allowed five passed balls in 230 less innings than he recorded six last season. Although the Twins receiving style doesn’t necessarily put emphasis on catching base stealers, Jeffers has thrown out just six of 35 base runners. That 17% falls well below the 24% league average, a mark that Jeffers was within one percent of last season. Then there’s Gary Sanchez. It’s been peaks and valleys with the former Yankees backstop. Sanchez owns a better .702 OPS and has basically been league average with his bat the past two seasons. Offensively he’s not the complete non-factor he was in 2018 or 2020, but at league-average, his approach leaves plenty to be desired. Through 67 games, Sanchez has hit 10 homers, a bit behind his pace from last season that resulted in 23 longballs. His on-base production has dipped significantly however, in that he owns an ugly 73/17 K/BB. Last season, despite a .204 average, he posted a .307 OBP. This season there’s just a 60 point split between the two, and his .281 OBP has resulted in a power-or-nothing approach. Defensively Sanchez has fewer passed balls than his teammate, and throwing out seven of 23 would-be-base-stealers has him above league average at 30%. He’s not as good of a receiver, but has made notable strides that Minnesota no doubt appreciates. These two players combined could probably provide something of more use, but on their own each is coming up just short. That leaves the front office with a question as to whether this is a position to address before the trade deadline flies by. One of the biggest names available from a hitting standpoint is veteran catcher Willson Contreras. The Chicago Cubs backstop is all but certain to be moved as he’s a free agent following this season. His .867 OPS is otherworldly at a position not typically ripe with offense production. He’s also solid behind the dish defensively, and would give Minnesota an option to upgrade their worst position. How a catcher factors in for the Twins remains intriguing. Jeffers, Sanchez, and a third player would not all fit on the active roster. Someone would almost have to be moved in any deal that acquires the position, but that could send ripple effects through the clubhouse. There’s also the reality that Minnesota’s 40-man roster is incredibly thin behind the plate after the two included on the 26-man roster, and having options for the future needs to be a focus. I still think it’s unlikely the Twins trade for a bat, especially in needing so much pitching help, but if they do, adding to a position of need and swinging for one of the best in the game at it would hardly be unwelcomed. What do you think? Should the Twins add a catcher at the deadline? Is someone like Contreras going to cost too much? View full article
  10. Ryan Jeffers was seen as a bat-first player when the Twins drafted him, and there were questions as to whether he’d ever stick behind the plate. Fast forward to where we are now, and Jeffers has turned himself into one of the better receivers across the league. Unfortunately, the bat that played over 26 games in 2021 has been nonexistent the past two seasons. Garver and Jeffers split time last season, with the latter getting in 85 games. Across 293 plate appearances for the Twins last season, Jeffers put up a .670 OPS which translated to an 84 OPS+. In 206 plate appearances thus far this season he owns a lesser .666 OPS but given offensive decline as a whole, that translates to a better 92 OPS+. That means Jeffers has failed to be a league-average hitter for either of the past two seasons. The Twins Trade Manifesto: 49 Possible Deadline Targets Maybe that works as his framing plays, but it’s not as though Jeffers is a stalwart in all areas with the glove. Jeffers has already allowed five passed balls in 230 less innings than he recorded six last season. Although the Twins receiving style doesn’t necessarily put emphasis on catching base stealers, Jeffers has thrown out just six of 35 base runners. That 17% falls well below the 24% league average, a mark that Jeffers was within one percent of last season. Then there’s Gary Sanchez. It’s been peaks and valleys with the former Yankees backstop. Sanchez owns a better .702 OPS and has basically been league average with his bat the past two seasons. Offensively he’s not the complete non-factor he was in 2018 or 2020, but at league-average, his approach leaves plenty to be desired. Through 67 games, Sanchez has hit 10 homers, a bit behind his pace from last season that resulted in 23 longballs. His on-base production has dipped significantly however, in that he owns an ugly 73/17 K/BB. Last season, despite a .204 average, he posted a .307 OBP. This season there’s just a 60 point split between the two, and his .281 OBP has resulted in a power-or-nothing approach. Defensively Sanchez has fewer passed balls than his teammate, and throwing out seven of 23 would-be-base-stealers has him above league average at 30%. He’s not as good of a receiver, but has made notable strides that Minnesota no doubt appreciates. These two players combined could probably provide something of more use, but on their own each is coming up just short. That leaves the front office with a question as to whether this is a position to address before the trade deadline flies by. One of the biggest names available from a hitting standpoint is veteran catcher Willson Contreras. The Chicago Cubs backstop is all but certain to be moved as he’s a free agent following this season. His .867 OPS is otherworldly at a position not typically ripe with offense production. He’s also solid behind the dish defensively, and would give Minnesota an option to upgrade their worst position. How a catcher factors in for the Twins remains intriguing. Jeffers, Sanchez, and a third player would not all fit on the active roster. Someone would almost have to be moved in any deal that acquires the position, but that could send ripple effects through the clubhouse. There’s also the reality that Minnesota’s 40-man roster is incredibly thin behind the plate after the two included on the 26-man roster, and having options for the future needs to be a focus. I still think it’s unlikely the Twins trade for a bat, especially in needing so much pitching help, but if they do, adding to a position of need and swinging for one of the best in the game at it would hardly be unwelcomed. What do you think? Should the Twins add a catcher at the deadline? Is someone like Contreras going to cost too much?
  11. We are officially into trade deadline season and the Minnesota Twins are leading the American League Central Division. It’s probably not a certainty that the club would need to add a bat, but if they want to get creative there’s roster spots to improve upon. Last week I wrote a Trade Manifesto presenting 49 names that could be a potential fit to the Twins rosters. It’s on the mound that most of the focus should be pointed, but there’s little reason to turn away from a competent hitter if a fit is deemed strong and valuable. The 5 Best Starting Pitching Trade Targets The 5 Best Relief Pitching Trade Targets Rocco Baldelli’s club is less pressed in the lineup, even though they’ve gone silent at times. Jose Miranda and Alex Kirilloff have solidified first base for the most part, and Jorge Polanco has returned healthy at second base. Minnesota has flexibility at third, and Luis Arraez has been great about filling in wherever. The outfield is also largely set and knowing Trevor Larnach will be back helps. If the Twins were to acquire a bat, it probably comes as a utility type or behind the plate. Here are the five best names from the Trade Manifesto that they could acquire: Brandon Drury - Cincinnati Reds - 29 yrs old 1.9 fWAR 16 HR 124 OPS+ The Reds have plenty to piece out, and while they aren’t as bad as they started, this isn’t an organization that wants to win either. Drury is a stereotypical utility man that can play all over the diamond. He’s played every infield position aside from appearing behind the plate this season, and he was previously an outfielder at times for both the Mets and Blue Jays. This is easily a career year for the veteran, and the Reds will look to extract value out of a guy making just $900k. He did put up a solid 2021 season as well, but both of these sample sizes are relatively small. Drury is posting a career best 11% barrel rate, but his expected stats are below actual production. He’s seen success by lowering whiff and chase rates which is a solid procedural change. A free agent following the season, there shouldn’t be much in the way of acquisition cost here. Christian Walker - Arizona Diamondbacks - 31 yrs old 1.9 fWAR 21 HR 123 OPS+ You could call Walker a slugger at first base but that would be selling his impact short. Yes, he blasts the ball into the seats and isn’t a high average guy by any means, but he’s also a very good defender. With 12 defensive runs saved and eight outs above average, he brings plenty of value to the lineup. Walker’s expected batting average is also nearly 70 points higher than it currently rests, and his expected slugging percentage checks in at a whopping .598. He’s barrelling baseballs at a ridiculous 15% of the time, and his .183 BABIP suggests even more offense could be had here. Walker is playing on a $2.6 million deal this season and remains under team control for each of the next two seasons. Minnesota making a move at first base would largely be reflective of how they want to use Miranda, Kirilloff, and Gio Urshela. Ian Happ - Chicago Cubs - 27 yrs old 2.3 fWAR 8 HR 136 OPS+ A former 9th overall pick, Happ’s value isn’t solely rooted in the longball. He’s at home in the outfield and would be able to play a strong centerfield, but he can also play on the dirt. Happ has previously earned MVP votes and he’s posted better than a league-average OPS+ each of his six pro seasons. Happ’s barrel rate is down some, but his expected slugging percentage suggests there’s a bit of room to grow. He’s never previously experienced this muted level of home run production, and coming off of 25 last year, a second half surge may happen for an acquiring club. Happ is making $6.85 million this year and is arbitration eligible again in 2023 before becoming a free agent. Josh Bell - Washington Nationals - 29 yrs old 2.5 fWAR 12 HR 164 OPS+ On a one-year deal with the Nationals, it always seemed like Bell may wind up as trade fodder at the deadline. He hasn’t produced the same home run numbers we’ve seen from him before, but this is a career year by every other measure. Bell’s hard hit rate dropping below 30% for the first time in his career is likely part of the lost power, but his 8.8% whiff rate is lower than anything he’s shown since 2016 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Traditionally somewhat of a lackluster defensive option, he’s produced positive numbers by both DRS and OAA this season. Bell should be one of the most coveted bats on the market this year, and at $10 million, for the season, his remaining money won’t be substantial. Willson Contreras - Chicago Cubs - 30 yrs old 22.9 fWAR 13 HR 152 OPS+ The Cubs have some very intriguing options all over the diamond, but there’s no denying the best talent is their catcher, Contreras. Offensively he’s pulverizing the baseball and experiencing a career year. The expected stats suggest this is substantiated, and if anything, may trend even further upwards. The 44.8% hard hit rate is a career high, and not at all a surprise with how well he’s seeing the ball at the plate. A knock is probably the defense, which has not previously been the case. After 8 DRS last season, Contreras is at -6 thus far in 2022. He’s not a good framer either, but is throwing out a league average amount of would be base stealers. Minnesota may benefit from a catching upgrade, but it’d be quite a luxury for them to go get the best bat available at the position. Cabrera is making $9.625 million this season in his final year of arbitration, and he’ll be a free agent following the season. If Minnesota targets a bat, who would you like them to grab and why? View full article
  12. Last week I wrote a Trade Manifesto presenting 49 names that could be a potential fit to the Twins rosters. It’s on the mound that most of the focus should be pointed, but there’s little reason to turn away from a competent hitter if a fit is deemed strong and valuable. The 5 Best Starting Pitching Trade Targets The 5 Best Relief Pitching Trade Targets Rocco Baldelli’s club is less pressed in the lineup, even though they’ve gone silent at times. Jose Miranda and Alex Kirilloff have solidified first base for the most part, and Jorge Polanco has returned healthy at second base. Minnesota has flexibility at third, and Luis Arraez has been great about filling in wherever. The outfield is also largely set and knowing Trevor Larnach will be back helps. If the Twins were to acquire a bat, it probably comes as a utility type or behind the plate. Here are the five best names from the Trade Manifesto that they could acquire: Brandon Drury - Cincinnati Reds - 29 yrs old 1.9 fWAR 16 HR 124 OPS+ The Reds have plenty to piece out, and while they aren’t as bad as they started, this isn’t an organization that wants to win either. Drury is a stereotypical utility man that can play all over the diamond. He’s played every infield position aside from appearing behind the plate this season, and he was previously an outfielder at times for both the Mets and Blue Jays. This is easily a career year for the veteran, and the Reds will look to extract value out of a guy making just $900k. He did put up a solid 2021 season as well, but both of these sample sizes are relatively small. Drury is posting a career best 11% barrel rate, but his expected stats are below actual production. He’s seen success by lowering whiff and chase rates which is a solid procedural change. A free agent following the season, there shouldn’t be much in the way of acquisition cost here. Christian Walker - Arizona Diamondbacks - 31 yrs old 1.9 fWAR 21 HR 123 OPS+ You could call Walker a slugger at first base but that would be selling his impact short. Yes, he blasts the ball into the seats and isn’t a high average guy by any means, but he’s also a very good defender. With 12 defensive runs saved and eight outs above average, he brings plenty of value to the lineup. Walker’s expected batting average is also nearly 70 points higher than it currently rests, and his expected slugging percentage checks in at a whopping .598. He’s barrelling baseballs at a ridiculous 15% of the time, and his .183 BABIP suggests even more offense could be had here. Walker is playing on a $2.6 million deal this season and remains under team control for each of the next two seasons. Minnesota making a move at first base would largely be reflective of how they want to use Miranda, Kirilloff, and Gio Urshela. Ian Happ - Chicago Cubs - 27 yrs old 2.3 fWAR 8 HR 136 OPS+ A former 9th overall pick, Happ’s value isn’t solely rooted in the longball. He’s at home in the outfield and would be able to play a strong centerfield, but he can also play on the dirt. Happ has previously earned MVP votes and he’s posted better than a league-average OPS+ each of his six pro seasons. Happ’s barrel rate is down some, but his expected slugging percentage suggests there’s a bit of room to grow. He’s never previously experienced this muted level of home run production, and coming off of 25 last year, a second half surge may happen for an acquiring club. Happ is making $6.85 million this year and is arbitration eligible again in 2023 before becoming a free agent. Josh Bell - Washington Nationals - 29 yrs old 2.5 fWAR 12 HR 164 OPS+ On a one-year deal with the Nationals, it always seemed like Bell may wind up as trade fodder at the deadline. He hasn’t produced the same home run numbers we’ve seen from him before, but this is a career year by every other measure. Bell’s hard hit rate dropping below 30% for the first time in his career is likely part of the lost power, but his 8.8% whiff rate is lower than anything he’s shown since 2016 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Traditionally somewhat of a lackluster defensive option, he’s produced positive numbers by both DRS and OAA this season. Bell should be one of the most coveted bats on the market this year, and at $10 million, for the season, his remaining money won’t be substantial. Willson Contreras - Chicago Cubs - 30 yrs old 22.9 fWAR 13 HR 152 OPS+ The Cubs have some very intriguing options all over the diamond, but there’s no denying the best talent is their catcher, Contreras. Offensively he’s pulverizing the baseball and experiencing a career year. The expected stats suggest this is substantiated, and if anything, may trend even further upwards. The 44.8% hard hit rate is a career high, and not at all a surprise with how well he’s seeing the ball at the plate. A knock is probably the defense, which has not previously been the case. After 8 DRS last season, Contreras is at -6 thus far in 2022. He’s not a good framer either, but is throwing out a league average amount of would be base stealers. Minnesota may benefit from a catching upgrade, but it’d be quite a luxury for them to go get the best bat available at the position. Cabrera is making $9.625 million this season in his final year of arbitration, and he’ll be a free agent following the season. If Minnesota targets a bat, who would you like them to grab and why?
  13. The players mentioned below are on non-contending teams, which are expected to be active at the deadline. As the August 2 trade deadline approaches, expect multiple trade targets tied to the Twins. Luis Castillo, RHP, Reds Twins fans have been calling for the Twins to trade for Luis Castillo since last winter, but he will be one of the most sought-after arms heading into the deadline. Minnesota completed the Sonny Gray trade with Cinncinatti, so the two front offices are familiar with one another. Sometimes that helps to make more significant trades come to fruition. Unlike the last trade that was a one-for-one deal, a Castillo trade will likely take multiple prospects, especially since he has one last arbitration-eligible season in 2023. Recent Hot Streak: Castillo began the year on the IL, which may have hurt his potential trade value. However, he has rounded back into form over his last five starts. In 29 1/3 innings, he has allowed eight earned runs (2.45 ERA) and averaged nearly six innings per outing. Opponents have hit .214/.279/.304 (.582) while striking out in 26.8% of their at-bats. Castillo would bolster nearly any team's playoff rotation. Willson Contreras, C, Cubs Minnesota has two capable big-league catchers on the roster, but a catching upgrade might help improve the entire line-up. Ryan Jeffers has struggled this season, and Willson Contreras would be a significant upgrade behind the plate. The Cubs traded away many of their core players last year, and Contreras is one of the last remaining pieces from their 2016 World Series run. FanGraphs has him ranked as the catcher with the highest WAR total in 2022. He is a free agent at the season's end, so plenty of teams will be in the market for the two-time All-Star. Recent Hot Streak: Contreras posted a .781 OPS through the season's first month, which isn't terrible. However, his bat started to heat up when the calendar turned to May. Over his last 33 games, he is hitting .279/.420/.550 (.970), including four doubles and eight home runs. At this point, he may be baseball's best offensive catcher. Trey Mancini, 1B, Orioles First base is an interesting position for the Twins. Luis Arraez has been getting most of the starts at the position, but the team can also add Alex Kirilloff and Miguel Sano back to the roster in the coming weeks. Trey Mancini can play first base or either corner outfield spot, but the Twins have depth at those positions. MLB.com identified him as a potential fit for the Twins, but it is hard to envision him fitting into the current line-up unless injuries became a concern. His current contract includes a $10 million mutual option for 2023 with a $250,000 buyout, so he doesn't have to serve strictly as a rental player for a team acquiring him. Recent Hot Streak: Mancini posted a .590 OPS through the season's first month, but he has recently heated up. Over his last 38 games, he is hitting .326/.424/.482 (.907) with five doubles and five home runs. FanGraphs ranks Minnesota's first base production in the bottom six of the American League. Mancini fits the prototypical first baseman role if the front office wants to address this position. Which player(s) do you feel like would be the best fit for the Twins before the trade deadline? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  14. There are roughly seven weeks until the trade deadline, and plenty of names will start being tossed around in the rumor mill. Here are three players whose stock has risen recently and how they fit with the Twins. The players mentioned below are on non-contending teams, which are expected to be active at the deadline. As the August 2 trade deadline approaches, expect multiple trade targets tied to the Twins. Luis Castillo, RHP, Reds Twins fans have been calling for the Twins to trade for Luis Castillo since last winter, but he will be one of the most sought-after arms heading into the deadline. Minnesota completed the Sonny Gray trade with Cinncinatti, so the two front offices are familiar with one another. Sometimes that helps to make more significant trades come to fruition. Unlike the last trade that was a one-for-one deal, a Castillo trade will likely take multiple prospects, especially since he has one last arbitration-eligible season in 2023. Recent Hot Streak: Castillo began the year on the IL, which may have hurt his potential trade value. However, he has rounded back into form over his last five starts. In 29 1/3 innings, he has allowed eight earned runs (2.45 ERA) and averaged nearly six innings per outing. Opponents have hit .214/.279/.304 (.582) while striking out in 26.8% of their at-bats. Castillo would bolster nearly any team's playoff rotation. Willson Contreras, C, Cubs Minnesota has two capable big-league catchers on the roster, but a catching upgrade might help improve the entire line-up. Ryan Jeffers has struggled this season, and Willson Contreras would be a significant upgrade behind the plate. The Cubs traded away many of their core players last year, and Contreras is one of the last remaining pieces from their 2016 World Series run. FanGraphs has him ranked as the catcher with the highest WAR total in 2022. He is a free agent at the season's end, so plenty of teams will be in the market for the two-time All-Star. Recent Hot Streak: Contreras posted a .781 OPS through the season's first month, which isn't terrible. However, his bat started to heat up when the calendar turned to May. Over his last 33 games, he is hitting .279/.420/.550 (.970), including four doubles and eight home runs. At this point, he may be baseball's best offensive catcher. Trey Mancini, 1B, Orioles First base is an interesting position for the Twins. Luis Arraez has been getting most of the starts at the position, but the team can also add Alex Kirilloff and Miguel Sano back to the roster in the coming weeks. Trey Mancini can play first base or either corner outfield spot, but the Twins have depth at those positions. MLB.com identified him as a potential fit for the Twins, but it is hard to envision him fitting into the current line-up unless injuries became a concern. His current contract includes a $10 million mutual option for 2023 with a $250,000 buyout, so he doesn't have to serve strictly as a rental player for a team acquiring him. Recent Hot Streak: Mancini posted a .590 OPS through the season's first month, but he has recently heated up. Over his last 38 games, he is hitting .326/.424/.482 (.907) with five doubles and five home runs. FanGraphs ranks Minnesota's first base production in the bottom six of the American League. Mancini fits the prototypical first baseman role if the front office wants to address this position. Which player(s) do you feel like would be the best fit for the Twins before the trade deadline? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
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