Monday, January 27, 2020

Trade Market Calling for the Twins

Today the Pittsburgh Pirates swapped Sterling Marte to the Arizona Diamondbacks for a pair of prospects. In completing that deal, it’s another reminder that the trade market has yet to truly take off, and it makes a good amount of sense that the Minnesota Twins be involved.

We still have yet to see any organizations move a big pitcher. Nolan Arenado looks to be on his way out of Colorado, and Mookie Betts could certainly be headed somewhere else if Boston is ready to deal. Going into the offseason it appeared that the Twins were well positioned to make a move, and nothing has changed to suggest otherwise.

Right now, there’s a decent level of redundancy in Minnesota’s farm system, and there’s a strong mix of impact prospects alongside depth talent. The organization is not only going to have a substantial amount of decisions to make on the 40-man roster prior to 2021, but there’s going to be more than a handful that are extremely difficult.

Expecting the Twins to land either Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg would have always been a pipe dream at best. Zack Wheeler and Hyun-Jin Ryu would have completed Derek Falvey’s quest for an impact arm, but one was an upside play while the other has significant injury concerns. Doling out cash on either could have went up in smoke, and the long-term effects may be more costly.

This is where we should again begin thinking about the trade market. After Josh Donaldson was signed by Minnesota, it appeared to put a bow on their offseason. Realistically though, neither Rich Hill nor Homer Bailey represent the necessary addition to calm concern out of the gate. Bailey is more a Kyle Gibson replacement than anything, and Hill’s impact may not be felt until October. Just recently clearing the previous high in payroll, there should still be room to squeak out a few more dollars.

We haven’t entered a scenario in which it becomes necessary to move either Royce Lewis or Alex Kirilloff but listening on offers and pursuing arms can be done knowing everything else is taken care of. Donaldson is more than an exciting addition on his own, but he wasn’t brought here for four years to sit back and carry the load. Minnesota made an aggressive move like that with the idea that talent can be supplemented as a whole and getting the entire 26-man help is a must.

I have no idea if the Twins are content with the rotation as it stands today. It’s certainly not in shambles, but there’s also clear opportunities for growth. Maybe they’ll play a handful of games before deciding that something else needs to be done. What I do know is that making a trade remains a very sensible action, the assets are there, the timing is right, and the market is beginning to reveal itself.