The Minnesota Twins have now dropped two straight games to the Tampa Bay Rays, and find themselves in a less than fortunate position coming out of the All Star Break. With an opportunity to go on a nice winning run, so far that notion has been squandered. That begs the questions, when the July 31 trade dealing rolls around, what do the Twins have in the form of assets?
First off, the Twins have an All Star backstop that has been on a tear this season. Kurt Suzuki has swung that bat to the tune of a .305 average and .365 on base percentage, numbers significantly higher than the bulk of his career. He is an above average catcher, and commands a staff well.
Through July, Suzuki has been hitting even better, swinging to a .333 avg and .397 OBP. Right now, Fangraphs has Suzuki listed at a WAR of 1.4, his highest since 2011.
Suzuki could be an intriguing option for a team like the Cardinals or the Orioles, both of whom find themselves in the midst of a playoff push, and without their starting backstop. While Suzuki doesn’t project to bring back much, moving him could clear the way for the return of Josmil Pinto, who currently holds a .405 OBP with a .254 avg in 19 games at Triple-A Rochester.
In the outfield, the Twins could be looking to move on from Josh Willingham. While this season is far from his best with the Twins, he still represents a power bat from the right side of the plate. Willingham has never been more than replacement level in the outfield, and while he represents a liability tracking down fly balls, his bat has always carried him.
At the point, the Twins may not get much of a bite on the veteran slugger. While a team needy for offense, like the Yankees or Mariners could use the pop, Willingham has only hit .095 over his last 13 games, all while striking out nearly twice as many times as he has walked.
Should the Twins find a suitor to move on from Willingham, he doesn’t project to bring back anything more than minor league depth. However, the Twins are in a position to move the right-handed veteran, as the signing of Kendrys Morales may be a commitment to the designated hitter spot, even after his one year contract is up.
Finally, and most intriguingly, the Twins find themselves in a position to move Kevin Correia. Correia has long been noted to be a National League arm and has found himself to be very mediocre for the Twins. However, since a bad outing against the Brewers on June 5, Correia has been electric.
Over his past seven starts, Correia has pitched to a 2.30 ERA, and while he won’t strike many batters out (13 in that time frame), he has only given up 11 earned runs in his last 43 innings pitched.
Correia could be an option in either league, and with a handful of playoff teams looking to strengthen their rotation without fleecing their farm system, the Twins could find a suitor. Much like how Francisco Liriano was dealt to the Chicago White Sox for Eduardo Escobar, Correia could bring back a similar piece.
At this point, it looks like the Twins will be sellers come July 31, and even a strong winning streak shouldn’t change that. The Twins best hope is to stay competitive throughout the remaining months of the season, but to see the long-term goal in competing with top-notch prospects in 2015 and beyond.
Minnesota shouldn’t expect to be apart of any blockbuster moves at the deadline, but they have names to move, and a couple that make more sense than most.