The 2017-2018 offseason is here for the Minnesota Twins. Who could be their trade partners this offseason?
Now that the Minnesota Twins have entered the offseason, they are looking to improve the roster through trades and through free agent signings. In this series, we’ll look at how the Twins match up with teams in trade scenarios.
We will first cover the team’s 2017 and what they may be looking for this offseason and then look at whether the Twins could be a good fit for a possible trade this offseason. If there’s a fit, we’ll try to put together a feasible trade that would work for both sides. We will go alphabetically through the league, so we’ll start with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Diamondbacks did a pure flip on their 2016 in 2017, turning a 93-loss season into a 93-win season, taking the first Wild Card spot, and defeating Colorado before falling to the Dodgers in 3 games in the NLDS.
The Diamondbacks saw Paul Goldschmidt continue to be one of the elite players in the game, as he hit .297/.404/.563 with 36 home runs and 18 stolen bases. He also was recently announced as the Gold Glove winner for the National League. Getting A.J. Pollock back on the field was a positive thing as well, though he wasn’t yet 100% healthy after missing the majority of 2016 due to injury following an elite 2015 season.
While third baseman developed into a 30 home run hitter, also driving in 105 runs, with an .844 OPS, the big offensive boost the Diamondbacks got in 2017 was from their midseason acquisition of J.D. Martinez from the Tigers. Martinez very likely garnered some MVP votes with his performance, hitting .302/.366/.741 with 29 home runs in just 62 games with the Diamondbacks.
The Diamondbacks also saw some excellent pitching from their rotation in 2017. Only Patrick Corbin of their rotation had a season-long ERA over 4, and his was just 4.03. Robbie Ray took a step forward to the level of being just below the elite level of starters in the league, throwing 162 innings, with a 2.89 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and a 71/218 BB/K ratio. Zack Greinke bounced back to lead the rotation with 202 1/3 innings, posting a 3.20 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and a 45/215 BB/K ratio.
One of the big surprises for the Diamondbacks was the performance of former top prospect Archie Bradley when he was moved to the bullpen. On the season, he posted a 1.73 ERA over 63 appearances and 73 innings, collecting a 1.04 WHIP and 21/79 BB/K ratio.
Possible Trade Interest
Diamondbacks may want: The Diamondbacks will be in a financial crunch. They won’t give players away, but in positions where they have some depth (starting rotation, infield), they could possibly make trades, and with some need for bullpen help, the Twins’ depth in cheap, young bullpen arms could be very appealing.
Twins may want: You said available starting pitching? I missed everything else after available starting pitching!
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The most likely starter for the Diamondbacks to move will be Patrick Corbin, who is facing his final year of arbitration this season, and he is likely going to cost between $7.5M-$8.5M. I don’t see that Corbin with one year of control drawing one of the top 3-4 players in the Twins system. However, pairing a guy like Alan Busenitz/John Curtiss/Tyler Duffey along with a guy just below that mark would likely be the deal. Something like one of that trio, plus someone like Lewis Thorpe, Zack Littell, or even 2017 draftee Bleyne Enlow. I could see the Twins pairing two prospects with the reliever to give the Diamondbacks more depth of a package as well, something like one of the relievers, Kohl Stewart, and someone like Luke Bard or Andrew Vasquez.
One guy who did not pitch much due to Tommy John is Shelby Miller. While certainly most risky, he could also be a very high upside as he has two arbitration seasons, likely requiring $4M or so this season when he won’t return until mid-season or so, but then he’d be essentially like getting a mid-season trade into the rotation along with having a 2019 season of control. Miller had a horrid 2016, but it was just 2015 when Miller was an All-Star, having just pitched an excellent season for a Braves team that didn’t give him any support. While the package would likely include someone like Duffey or Busenitz, the prospect part of the deal is difficult to figure out simply due to Miller’s health concerns. Very feasibly, the Diamondbacks could ask for someone like Felix Jorge as a close-to-majors arm along with a guy like Jermaine Palacios or Travis Blankenhorn to give a high upside, high risk sort of guy to balance out the deal.
Last, but not least, the Twins could make a big push for Diamondbacks young starter Robbie Ray. He is in his first year of arbitration, and he’s likely to clear $4M, but more than salary, he showed the early signs of becoming a possible ace-level pitcher. Ray could be attained, but he would likely cost a significant prospect package.
Almost certainly either Royce Lewis or Nick Gordon would be part of this trade package, along with one of Stephen Gonsalves or Fernando Romero. From there, the Diamondbacks would likely want another pair of prospects, and I’m thinking Tyler Jay and someone like LaMonte Wade/Zack Granite/Akil Baddoo being the final piece. That is a heavy prospect package, but for a guy like Ray just entering arbitration, that’s the type of price you have to pay!
So each of those deals cuts at least $4M from the Diamondbacks payroll for 2018, meeting their primary need, and it gets the Twins a big league, proven starter, meeting a major need for the Twins. Which deal would you want to pursue most, given the cost in money and prospects?