How to address long term without tanking 2017
In all of baseball right now, the Minnesota Twins have the 3rd youngest lineup average age of anyone who has taken a plate appearance for the team this season, however, the pitching is one of the oldest in baseball, ranking as the 8th oldest pitching staff in baseball this season.
The Twins could use their position to take advantage of a market heavy after pitching this season to move Craig Breslow, once he returns healthy, and Matt Belisle from their bullpen. While Belisle’s raw ERA has been poor, he has a FIP nearly a run and a half lower, giving up half of his earned runs in two appearances roughly a week apart in late April/early May.
The big fish that everyone wants to talk about is Ervin Santana, but Santana’s veteran leadership and performance this season along with a reasonable contract through 2018 makes him worth keeping around as a veteran presence in the rotation with likely young arms filling out the rotation behind him going forward.
Instead of moving “Big Erv”, the team could focus on moving guys like Hector Santiago, Kyle Gibson, and Phil Hughes. While none have been exemplary this season, Hughes is the only one older than 30 of the trio.
Hughes will be the toughest to trade of that trio, with $26M+ owed to him over 2018-2019. Santiago is a free agent after this season, and Gibson is eligible for arbitration.
In the stead of these three arms, the Twins could be getting more looks at their host of arms in the upper minors, some of which have already made appearances in the major leagues this year, like Felix Jorge, Nik Turley, Fernando Romero, Stephen Gonsalves, and Kohl Stewart. Ryan Eades has also been working as a starter since coming off his most recent DL stint and looks like the guy the Twins drafted in 2013, so the arms are certainly there to fill out the rotation the rest of the season.
Perhaps there won’t be a huge return on those three guys, but if they could simply clear Hughes’ future salary to some degree and open the rotation spots to see what they have out of the arms currently in the upper minors, the return wouldn’t need to be more than a good flyer prospect or two.
So who should the Twins target? Let’s take a look…