Minnesota Twins 2017-2018 Offseason Trade Partner Profile: Atlanta Braves

ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 20: Atlanta Braves fans doing the 'Tomahawk Chop' during the game against the Washington Nationals at Turner Field on August 20, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin Liles/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 20: Atlanta Braves fans doing the 'Tomahawk Chop' during the game against the Washington Nationals at Turner Field on August 20, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin Liles/Getty Images) /
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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, and after covering the Arizona Diamondbacks, we find ourselves today looking the Atlanta Braves.

Braves 2017

The Braves may have still lost 90 games in 2017, but there were definitely signs of progress in the team’s rebuild. On July 16th of the season, at 90 games into the season, the Braves were 45-45, their last moment of being .500 or better. The Braves chose to trade off some assets before the July 31st deadline (including in one deal to the Twins), and they brought up a large contingent of their major league-ready prospects to get them time at the major league level.

The Braves have Freddie Freeman as one of the elite young hitters in the game, and he took another step forward in spite of missing 45 games on the season, hitting .307/.403/.586, with 28 home runs, 8 stolen bases, and a 65/95 BB/K ratio. Ender Inciarte continued to be an elite defender while hitting well at the top of the lineup, hitting .304/.350/.409 with 11 home runs and 22 stolen bases, with a 49/94 BB/K ratio. He also won a Gold Glove.

The Braves also saw young guys come up and perform well as Johan Camargo hit .299/.331/.452 in 82 games as a utility player, Ozzie Albies hit .286/.354/.456 with 5 triples, 6 home runs, and 8 steals in 57 games, and Sean Newcomb had a 4.32 ERA and struck out 108 over 100 innings at the major league level.

The Braves rotation is currently anchored with young starters Julio Teheran and Mike Foltynewicz, though both struggled in 2017. In the bullpen, Arodys Vizcaino took a step forward into the closer role while Jose Ramirez and Sam Freeman threw well in the bullpen as well.

With the current investigation into the Braves front office by Major League Baseball, the Braves may be a team that has to wait until after the league figures out things before making any major deals on the offseason.

Possible Trade Interest

Braves may want: Braves are looking to do two major things this offseason – unload one or both of their outfielders to open a spot for uber-prospect Ronald Acuna to play, and shore up the bullpen. Acquiring third base help could be good as well, though the team is going to want someone controllable or cheap, if not both.

Twins may want: Twins are looking for rotation and bullpen help along with a DH bat, especially one from the right side that could spell Max Kepler in the outfield once in a while.

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Trade proposals

The difficulty here is going to be finding a financial match. The Braves have Matt Kemp, who could be an excellent match for the role of a right-handed power bat at DH and sometimes compliment to Kepler. Kemp is not a guy you want out in the outfield 150 games a year, and in fact, that’s been what has been his biggest bugaboo the last few years, because when he’s been healthy, Kemp has been productive.

This season was a good example of what Kemp can do when healthy versus how things go downhill once he’s not. Kemp missed 10 games in April, but was mostly healthy until the end of July, and at that point, he was hitting .290/.336/.477 with 14 home runs as part of 36 extra base hits over 88 games and 372 plate appearances. For comparison, Miguel Sano played about two more weeks than Kemp, and he put up a line of .264/.352/.507 with 28 home runs as part of 45 extra base hits. Not a ton of difference – just balls leaving the yard for Sano versus doubles for Kemp.

Kemp is due $43.5M the next two seasons with the Dodgers and Padres kicking in a total of $12M of that, bringing the total down to $31.5M. I would wager the finances would come into play, but the trades proposed will be around that balance.

Trade proposal #1 – Matt Kemp plus his entire remaining salary to the Twins for pitching prospect Nick Burdi.

Trade proposal #2 – Matt Kemp plus $15M of cash from the Braves to the Twins for infield prospect Travis Blankenhorn.

Trade proposal #3 – Matt Kemp plus $30M of cash from the Braves to the Twins for pitching prospects Kohl Stewart and J.T. Chargois as well as outfield prospect Jaylin Davis.

Next: 5 Potential FA Hitters for Twins

One last proposal not Kemp-related. The Twins are looking for a 3B option, and the Twins have the depth in infield options if they choose to bring back players to trade Eduardo Escobar if the return was excellent. Escobar did hit 21 home runs last season while hitting .254/.309/.449. He’s estimated to get $4.5-5M in arbitration, which would be much cheaper for the Braves than getting into the free agent market at the position.

Trade proposal #4 – Eduardo Escobar to Atlanta in exchange for Braves pitching prospect Akeel Morris, likely to be in the Twins 2018 opening day bullpen, and catching prospect Brett Cumberland.