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 will look at a team in the midst of what is an exciting rebuild to watch from an outsider’s perspective, the San Diego Padres.
The Padres were expected to be bad, not just bad, but possibly historically bad, coming into 2017. That actually makes their 71-91 record seem a fairly solid season compared to what was expected from the rebuilding roster.
The crazy thing is that those players expected to provide contributions as young players on their way up as they got their feet wet in the major leagues didn’t really do exactly that, and instead, a minor league free agent and a setup man entering the season ended up being the top two players via bWAR by the end of the season.
Many assumed that the Padres had their lineup anchor in Wil Myers off of a 28 home runs and stole 28 bases and got a contract extension to buy out the first few years of his free agent seasons. Instead Myers hit more home runs, but he struggled with contact, striking out 180 times on the season, hitting .243/.328/.464 with 30 home runs and 20 stolen bases.
Outfielders Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe were to take over two of the outfield spots and hopefully run with them as young players, but Margot had injury, and Renfroe opened the season in such a funk that he ended up back in the minors for a time. Margot did play excellent defense and finished with a .263/.313/.409 line with 13 home runs and 17 stolen bases. Renfroe improved upon his recall from AAA, finishing with a line of .231/.284/.467 with 26 home runs.
Often considered for his defensive prowess behind the plate, Austin Hedges offered some pop at the plate as well, clubbing 18 home runs, though he did still only manage a .660 OPS.
Franchy Cordero exploded onto the scene and quickly faded, hitting .228/.276/.424 with 3 home runs in just 30 games. Jose Pirela started fast but faded much more gradually, as he was able to post a .288/.347/.490 line with 10 home runs in 83 games.
On the pitching side, presumed closer Brandon Maurer threw to a 5.72 ERA before he was dealt at the deadline. Brad Hand took over the closer role from Maurer, and he saw no fade on his brilliant season, throwing 72 games and 79 1/3 innings, with a 2.16 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, and a 20/104 BB/K ratio and 21 saves.
The big surprise for the rotation was minor league signee Jhoulys Chacin. The veteran took a spring training invite and ran with it, winning a rotation spot, making 32 starts, throwing 180 1/3 innings, posting a 3.89 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and a 72/153 BB/K ratio.
With a number of veterans from the 2017 team likely not returning and a few moves already made for 2018 (acquiring Bryan Mitchell and Chase Headley from the Yankees, Freddy Galvis from the Phillies), what might the Padres be looking for?
Possible Trade Interest
Padres may want: Long-term infield help, power arms. In a rebuild, the Padres have built up an enviable farm system. The issue is that much of the envy is in incredible depth at the lower levels. Of course, some of those guys will turn into elite players, but for now, the team needs players who can play the field, and the team has been targeting infielders that could be a long-term solution at one of 2B/3B/SS, understanding that most likely Luis Urias and Fernando Tatis, Jr. will take two of those positions IF they continue their positive development.
Twins may want: A power bat for the DH position, starting pitching, relief pitching
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With those needs how could the Twins and Padres match up? Here are three ideas:
Trade proposal #1: Nick Gordon, Fernando Romero, and Kohl Stewart for Brad Hand. Yes, that seems like a huge trade package, but Hand will likely be making less than $5 million in arbitration this coming year and is still controllable for 2019 through arbitration.
Hand is also a local Minnesota guy, so he could be open to an extension as well, and trading a package like that for a long-term relief ace of Hand’s ability would be a worthwhile deal.
Trade proposal #2: Felix Jorge, Tyler Jay, and Tyler Watson for Yangervis Solarte. Once again, a fairly big package, and the Twins could possibly get a much more narrow deal (even a 1-for-1 by moving lefty prospect Stephen Gonsalves, a San Diego native, in a deal for Solarte, but the Twins seem hesitant to move Gonsalves outside of an elite ace starter coming back.
Solarte is a quality infielder with the ability to handle 3B and 2B very well defensively and even handle some shortstop in a pinch. He’s signed currently for just $4.12 million in 2018, but he also has two very reasonable options that would total $13.5 million over 2019-2020.
For a guy who hit .270/.324/.435 over the last three seasons, will only be in his age 30 season, and is an incredible teammate and clubhouse guy, Solarte would make an excellent target and could make Eduardo Escobar expendable.
Trade proposal #3: Nick Gordon, Tyler Jay, and Zack Littell for RHP Dinelson Lamet. Many would see a guy who put up 0.4 bWAR over 21 starts with a 4.57 ERA in 114 1/3 innings and wonder what the big deal is. Limet has an incredible fastball/slider combination with an average fastball at 95 MPH in 2017 and a slider that comes in at 85.9 MPH. He also struck out 28.7% of hitters he faced at the major league level. Frankly, on a profile level, he’s Chris Archer without the hype or mileage on his arm. The Padres certainly also know this and won’t “give him away”, but the right deal could be a big acquisition for the Twins, and one that wouldn’t cost the team financially what guys like Archer or Jake Odorizzi or Gerrit Cole might.