How to address 2017 without hurting the future
The Twins may not have any prospects who are top 10 in the game, but they have one of the youngest rosters in the entire game, with only one regular starter who is over 31 (Mauer). Even the pitching staff is primarily young pitchers, with only Santana in the current working rotation that’s over 30.
The bullpen is another matter, however. While he’s been successful this season again, Brandon Kintzler continues to be a 32 year-old that is getting good results with lesser stuff than a typical closer – and he’s currently the most “dominant” Twins reliever.
While the bench could possibly use some depth, Eduardo Escobar, Chris Gimenez, and Ehire Adrianza are adequate with some quality options in the upper minors that could help in players like outfielder Zack Granite and a pair of catchers, Mitch Garver and John Ryan Murphy, in AAA, and infielders Nick Gordon and Levi Michael at AA.
The game, however, has seemingly changed while the construction of the current Twins bullpen has not. The Twins have the lowest K% of any bullpen in baseball by over 2% to the next worst bullpen and almost half the strikeout rate (30.5% to 18.0%) of the top-rated bullpen in the game in the statistic.
The game, however, has seemingly changed while the construction of the current Twins bullpen has not.
The Twins could do well if their control in their bullpen was just as extreme on the positive end, and while the Twins have the sixth-best walk rate by a bullpen in baseball, they’ve still got the lowest percentage number in the game when you subtract walk rate from strikeout rate, which usually helps to balance out teams that strike out a ton but with pitchers that struggle to control the ball. That still doesn’t help the Twins bullpen look better!
So, if bullpen help is what is in need, the Twins will be in a tough market, but the good part for the Twins is that they have a guy they feel comfortable with in the 9th inning in Kintzler.
The Twins do have some guys who have that sort of high-velocity, “dominant stuff” profile in the minor leagues currently, so they could bring some of them up to the major leagues in Jake Reed and J.T. Chargois when they are healthy, though both are currently returning from injury and unsure if they’re going to be able to help at all in 2017, so perhaps the trade market would make some sense for a short-term, rental type.
So, trading for a reliever could be the option to bring someone in, but who could be traded away without waving the white flag? Let’s take a look…