With the depth of young pitching coming, the Twins could use some of their young arms in the bullpen, so it would be understandable to not go after a guy in the manner that the Yankees shopped Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman.
That said, there should be some teams moving pieces that would make sense. One would be Atlanta righty Arodys Vizcaino. Vizcaino has some checkers in his past with injury and a PED suspension, but he’s been tremendous this season, posting a 2.38 ERA and 1.09 WHIP as the setup man in Atlanta, using his high velocity stuff to strike out 27.9% of the hitters he’s faced this season. Vizcaino is eligible for arbitration this season, and it’s feasible that if he produces well down the stretch, he could be a good offseason trade piece before he hits arbitration.
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While Oakland hasn’t put up the white flag by any means yet, they’re in last in their division, and they’ve already been fielding plenty of offers on their starting pitching, so it’s certainly feasible that their bullpen pieces would be open season as well. A guy like Ryan Madson seems to be a carbon copy of Kintzler, but he’s been reliable and has one more year under contract. The real guy to target in the Oakland bullpen may be lefty Sean Doolittle. The big-bearded converted first baseman was born in South Dakota, so he’s a born Midwesterner, signed through 2018 with two very reasonable options for 2019 and 2020.
While Addison Reed may be one of the most desirable relievers on the market, and the Mets have announced that they’re “open for business”, very likely the primary team looking for relief help, the Washington Nationals, are an in-division rival for the Mets, making a trade unlikely there. Reed would cost more than other options mentioned here, but he’s been dominant for two seasons in New York now, and he’s a pending free agent, so he may not cost as much as other options with a year or more control left.
The Twins could go big for a pair of relievers from San Diego and bring home a Twin Cities guy as part of the deal. Brad Hand very possibly could end up the most desirable arm on the trade market this July, starter or reliever, so he won’t likely come cheap, but the Padres are looking for big-time upside assets, so the Twins could probably make an offer with some of the big time players they have in the lower minors right now, not hurting their immediate future. The guy who I have been incredibly impressed by as a pop-up performer in 2017 is Kirby Yates, who has recorded a 2.00 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and a 8/42 BB/K over 27 innings for the Padres after seeing his fastball tick up a few MPH and really seeing his back door slider add break this season, making it a huge weapon, especially against righty hitters.
To get more in depth on the total reliever market, keep following MLB Trade Rumors as more teams get into the market. There will be teams making their decision to sell at various points in this coming month.
One of the best Twins trade acquisitions in their history was Shannon Stewart, who ended up being a big piece for the 2003 Minnesota Twins as they overcame the Chicago White Sox and won the AL Central before falling to the Yankees in the ALDS.
The Twins addressed a specific need that season, getting an upcoming free agent to solidify a need that the team had in the leadoff position of the lineup. This season, they could do similar with their bullpen in what we’ve explored here.
What do you think?! Should the Twins follow this path or should they go all in on one direction – buyer or seller? Comment below!