Monday, August 1, 2016

Antony Makes Waves At Deadline

The dust has settled and the Minnesota Twins have wrapped up the 2016 Major League Baseball trade deadline. In total, the interim GM Rob Antony made three moves, two of which were completed on the final day.

First and foremost, the Twins flipped 2016 "All Star" Eduardo Nunez to the San Francisco Giants for Adalberto Mejia. Nunez was playing well above expectations this season for the Twins and needed to be moved. He fits as a utility guy on a winning team, and that's what the Twins were able to do with him. In getting Mejia back, the club picked up a top 100 prospect. That's something that would never have been expected to start the year, but the sellers have been doing well for themselves this season.

On deadline day, Antony started out by dealing one of three players I opined were "must move" types. Fernando Abad was a shrewd pickup by former GM Terry Ryan, and had played himself into an ideal situation for Minnesota. Owning a sub 3.00 ERA and dominating lefties on the year, he gets to head to a playoff team and be a solid left-handed option for them. In return, the Twins get a guy they drafted back in 2009. Pat Light throws nearly 100 mph and has strikeout stuff. Unfortunately his control has been pretty awful, but he could show up in the Twins pen as early as 2016.

Then there was the biggest move of the day for Minnesota. After being linked to the Los Angeles Angels all winter regarding Trevor Plouffe, the two clubs finally worked out a deal. This one however was focused solely around pitchers. The Twins shed Ricky Nolasco and his ugly contract, but had to throw in former top prospect Alex Meyer as well. In return, they get major league starter Hector Santiago, and Triple-A reliever Alan Busenitz.

On the surface, I really dislike the final trade. Nolasco has been horrible for the Twins, and getting rid of his contract is a big plus. However, I still am of the belief that Alex Meyer has been poorly handled by the Twins and has more ability than he's been given the opportunity to show. Regardless, Hector Santiago is a nice parting gift from the Angels, and is a decent back end big league starter. He gives up way too many homers, but he's also got peripherals that are better together than what Nolasco has offered Minnesota.

If the Angels are able to fix Meyer, which requires him being healthy and consistent, than this trade could look pretty bad. It's been met with a ton of praise in the twittersphere, and shedding Nolasco's contract is the big reason for that. At this point, it appeared Meyer wasn't going to get a shot with the Twins long term anyways, so I can work through my own demons in accepting the deal.

To wrap up what the Twins did, we have to touch on the two pieces that were on my "must move" list and stayed put. Both Kurt Suzuki and Brandon Kintzler had little to no value for Minnesota now or going forward, and Antony failed to capitalize on that. Suzuki is a free agent at season's end, and being one of the hottest hitting catchers, should have been dealt for any return possible. Removing Kintzler from the 25 man would've given Minnesota the opportunity to promote Chargois, and now it appears that will have to wait.

At the end of the day, Rob Antony's first (and likely only) trade deadline is going to draw positive reviews from most. I'll consider myself in the lukewarm to positive group. I'm glad the Twins moved Nunez and Abad, but think it's a pretty big miss not to unload both Suzuki and Kintzler. I can get behind the Nolasco deal if Meyer is really cooked, but can't yet bring myself to believe that.

If this is Antony's one audition in doing this thing for real, he didn't take any steps backwards. His returns were about as expected in the sellers market. Regardless, the landscape for the Twins going forward is a very mediocre team that needs to see what it has for the year ahead. Continue to promote from within, and get those you're going to rely on a year from now ready.

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