The 2017-2018 offseason is here for the Minnesota Twins. Could the Milwaukee Brewers 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 made it to the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Brewers had a very similar feel to their season as the Twins did in 2017. The Brewers were not expected to be ready to compete and still working through a rebuild. Instead, the Brewers surprised everyone and spent 2017 battling for both their division and the National League Wild Card and fell just short of both with a record of 86-76 in manager Craig Counsel’s third year as manager.
One of the best stories of 2017 was Eric Thames returning to the majors and doing so with an incredible start to the season. In April and March Thames hit an incredible .345/.466/.810, a 1.276 OPS, and 11 home runs. He would cool off a bit but still finished with a respectable .247/.359/.518 and 31 home runs. A surprise offensive output from catcher Manny Pina was also a major catalyst for the Brewers season as he slashed .279/.327/.424. Domingo Santana had a bit of a breakout season slashing .278/.371/.505 and 30 home runs.
Shortstop Orlando Arcia started to come into his own and hit .277/.324/.407 and added 15 home runs. After coming over from Boston, third basemen Travis Shaw performed well at the hot corner hitting 31 home runs and a .273 average. Fellow infielder and second basemen Jonathan Villar didn’t continue his ascension as a baseball player as he struggled in comparison to his 2016.
The Brewers pitching was led by a great season before injury by Jimmy Nelson. Nelson emerged as the ace of the Brewers staff with a 3.49 ERA, 3.05 FIP, and 10.2 SO/9 over 175.1 innings. Following behind him was Chase Anderson who turned in 141.1 innings, a 2.74 ERA, and a 12-4 record. The Brewers are also waiting on several pitchers to become big league regulars and got to see glimpses of Brent Suter and Brandon Woodruff in 2017.
Corey Knebel is the story of the Brewers bullpen. Knebel has been around the Brewers for a few seasons and was a pretty good relief pitcher with good strikeouts numbers, but nothing like he showed in 2017. The Brewers closer led the National League with 76 game appearances, recorded 39 saves, a 1.78 ERA, and 14.9 SO/9.
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Possible Trade Interest
Brewers may want: With Jimmy Nelson still to miss time in 2018 after shoulder surgery, the Brewers will look to strengthen their starting rotation. The bullpen and second base could be other places the Brewers look to improve.
Twins may want: The Twins need starting pitching, relief pitching, and a right-handed power bat.
The Twins and Brewers are in similar places in their competitive windows. Both teams peaked earlier than expected and are looking to supplement the talent they currently have without completely mortgaging the future of each franchise. That honestly makes a trade match tricky between the two.
Trading away a starter for the Twins doesn’t make sense right this moment, but if the Twins sign some pitching this offseason as they are rumored to be attempting to do, then it starts to. Both Gibson and Broxton represent players who have shown a flash of great play but continue to struggle at times as well. The Brewers would hope for second half Gibson who had a 3.76 ERA and an 8.2 SO/9 to fill the middle to back-end of their rotation, especially while Nelson is out.
Broxton would come over to the Twins as the potential right-handed, 4th outfielder or designated hitter. Broxton struggles with making contact at times, but when he does Bernie the Brewer gets ready to hit the slide. And as a center fielder, there would be no drop off defensively when Broxton would fill in for Eddie Rosario or Max Kepler. The hope would be that hitting coach James Rowson could make similar strides with Broxton as he did both Rosario and Byron Buxton with their approach at the plate.
The Brewers are rumored to be unsatisfied to sticking with Jonathan Villar as their second baseman. In this trade, Gordon would be paired with Arcia to form the Brewers middle infield for years to come. In return, the Twins get left-handed reliever, Josh Hader. In 2017 at age 23, Hader appeared in 35 games and had a 2.08 ERA and a 12.8 SO/9. He would provide a definite upgrade over Buddy Boshers as a second lefty in the bullpen.
Let us pretend for a moment the Twins had a successful free agent signing period and ended up with two of the top five free agent starters. Then the Twins may be able to part with a starter that the Brewers may be interested in.
With our dream improved rotation, Santana becomes a trade chip and is a solid rotational arm. Paired with Anderson and eventually Nelson, Santana provides a known commodity for the Brewers. He is still relatively affordable at $13.5 million in 2018 and has a team option and vesting option (if he pitches 188.2 innings in 2018) for $14 million. And if things really go south it is a $1 million dollar buyout.
Peralta is getting close to the majors and projects as a No. 3 or No. 4 starter. He has a fastball that sits between 91-94 mph and a good slider and change-up. Kirby represents an arm that was drafted with a lot of promise at #40 overall but has struggled through two major surgeries on his elbow. Making him a riskier asset to acquire.