Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Twins Can Trade With Themselves

Minnesota Twins's Miguel Sano follows through on a two-run home run in the sixth inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Saturday, March 14, 2015, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
90 loss seasons are a thing of the past, and ugly Twins baseball is so 2014. As the 2015 Major League Baseball season kicks off in Detroit just under a week from today, the Twins have their sights set much higher. As I dissected earlier today, both the ceiling and the floor are in respectable places when it comes to the 2015 Twins. One of the biggest positives for this team however, is that reaching the ceiling comes with a certain level of control from within.

If you remember back to a season ago, the Twins made a relatively big splash at the beginning of June. Despite a losing record (29-31 on June 8th), Minnesota was just five games back in the AL Central, and two and a half games out of the wild card race. In an effort to bolster the offense, the Twins signed Kendrys Morales to a $12 million one year deal. Despite the struggles on the mound, the Twins believed scoring more would be the key to their eventual success. Unfortunately, the deal didn't work out, and the Twins later flipped Morales to the Seattle Mariners for relief pitcher Stephen Pryor.

The decision to sign Morales was not a quick thought, however it did seemingly come out of nowhere. The Twins didn't look like they were going to compete, despite hanging around, and Morales had sat out the first part of the season. Terry Ryan decided that his club was in position to make a run, and thought that Morales was the missing piece. At a press conference he said, "I read there were probably a handful of clubs that were chasing Kendrys. We were ahead of many of those clubs in the standings." While that may be true, the Twins missed on Morales, and he was hardly the key to their issues even if the deal had worked out.

In 2015 however, Minnesota's best trades and signings will likely come from within. Instead of having to go out and look for a Kendrys Morales type hitter on the open market, Minnesota could choose to call up power hitting prospect Miguel Sano. The similar June timeline would provide the Twins an immediate boost to their lineup, and could push them further into the playoff race. If the club finds themselves needing a pitcher, Alex Meyer, Trevor May, and potentially even Jose Berrios could all be looked at as options. Instead of dealing a prospect or handing out more money, Minnesota could go the route of an internal phone call to improve the roster. Quite possibly the biggest move the organization will make involves Byron Buxton. Baseball's best prospect could be called up to help the team push through the summer months and in turn lay the groundwork for what winning is to come in the future.

As Minnesota, and first year manager Paul Molitor progress through the upcoming season, plenty of decisions will be made. With the team in a good spot to be overlooked, and potentially surprise some of the competition, knowing they have a handful of aces in their back pocket is a great thing. Not having to worry about surrendering assets for immediate gain, Minnesota can begin to reap the fruits of a farm system that is loaded with talent.

It's more than fair to argue that the Twins have slow-played youth in the past. This season however will provide the organization with some interesting opportunities. Weighing current production for the minor leagues, as well as the positioning of the big league club, the organization actually holds a stacked deck when it comes to advancing itself from within.