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 today we have worked our way to the windy city and the 2016 World Series champion Chicago Cubs.
It’s been said that one of the most difficult things to do in all of sports is to defend a title. What the Cubs found this season was that defending one of the most long-awaited championships in professional sports. The media attention that was lavished on the 2016 Cubs team throughout the 2016 season and throughout the offseason was incredible.
The 2016 success led to heavy expectations on the team, such that a 92-win season seemed a disappointment to some level. The Cubs did pull away from the Brewers by the end of the season, winning the division by 6 games over the Brewers and 9 games over the third place Cardinals.
Offensively, the Cubs were led by their dynamic duo at the corners of the infield, Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant. Rizzo hit .273/.392/.507 with 32 home runs and 10 stolen bases. Bryant hit .295/.409/.537 with 29 home runs and 7 stolen bases. While both were exceptional, Rizzo saw nearly a 30-point drop in his OPS while had 10 less home runs.
Beyond their two big piece, Willson Contreras had some ups and downs but ended up with one of the best offensive seasons among catchers in the major leagues, hitting .276/.356/.499 with 21 home runs in 117 games. While their offensive output was not that of 2016, the team still had 6 players hit 20 or more home runs.
On the pitching side, the team saw steps back from their starting rotation across the board, though mid-season acquisition Jose Quintana did have a very productive time with the team, going 7-3 over 14 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and a 21/98 BB/K rate over 84 1/3 innings with the Cubs.
The team’s bullpen threw much better in 2017, led by closer Wade Davis. The four primary relievers in the bullpen each had an ERA under 3, and the one that threw the most innings beyond that quartet, swing man Mike Montgomery, posted a 3.38 ERA over 130 2/3 innings over 44 games, 14 of them starts.
Coming into the offseason, the Cubs have multiple key members of their team in the free agent market with John Lackey, Jake Arrieta, Wade Davis, Brian Duensing, and Koji Uehara also free agents among the pitching staff. Offensively, the team looks to lose only bit pieces as the lineup is primarily locked up for 2018 along with the first few major bench pieces.
Possible Trade Interest
Cubs may want: Starting pitching, relief pitching, center fielder, leadoff hitter. The Twins may not offer pitching depth at the major league level, but after seeing their minor league system depleted heavily over the last couple of seasons, the Cubs may be in the market to trade for some of the abundance of arms at the AA/AAA level that are near major league ready. Depending on who they could acquire in free agency, the Twins could shop Kyle Gibson or Brian Dozier who would fit the Cubs well.
Twins may want: A DH with some power, starting pitching, relief pitching.
More from Puckett's Pond
- Minnesota Twins: 2 Possible Free Agent Reunions for 2023
- Minnesota Twins: Holiday Wish List for the rest of the Offseason
- Minnesota Twins: After signing with the Mets, Correa spurns Twins again
- Minnesota Twins: You Spin Me Right Round, Right Round
- Minnesota Twins: What happens next at Shortstop?
With those similar needs, how could the Twins and Cubs match up. Here are three ideas:
Trade proposal #1: the Minnesota Twins send Kyle Gibson and Fernando Romero to the Chicago Cubs for IF/OF Ian Happ. If the Twins are able to lock down multiple arms this offseason (rumored on a number of first-tier and second-tier free agents with a good chunk of money to play with), Gibson could be in play as an arbitration-eligible guy that would work well at the back of the Cubs’ rotation. Romero would fit a high-upside, dynamic arm they are looking for. It could cost another piece to bring over the slugging Happ, but the Twins should be a bit wary of Happ’s polish at the plate with a 9.4% BB rate and 31.2% K rate.
Trade proposal #2: the Minnesota Twins send Brian Dozier to the Chicago Cubs for Kyle Schwarber, Victor Caratini, and Dillon Maples. This deal would allow for the Twins to have a pairing of Schwarber and Mitch Garver at DH and non-tender Robbie Grossman by using Caratini as a primary backup catcher. Maples is a tremendously talented young reliever who found his way to the big leagues in 2017 and could immediately be part of the 2018 Twins bullpen plans.
Trade proposal #3: Twins trade for Cubs international free agent money. In attempting to research how much money the Cubs have left in their pool, the best resource I found was an article on The Cub Reporter, listing all 25 of the team’s international signings, but the Cubs were restricted to $300K max due to going over their international free agent pool in the 2015-2016 period. International pool money can be traded in increments of $250,000 in the new deal. The Twins, in looking to make a strong pitch to Shohei Otani, could trade a prospect for a share of the money left that the Cubs have, but not knowing how much they have, it’s hard to put a definitive prospect and amount together. However, this could be a good way for the Twins to relieve some of their Rule 5 issues this coming weekend before the November 20th deadline.