Minnesota Twins Offseason Trade Partner Profile: Tampa Bay Rays

ST PETERSBURG, FL - OCTOBER 23: Fans of the Tampa Bay Rays stand outside the stadium prior to game two of the 2008 MLB World Series the Philadelphia Phillies on October 23, 2008 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
ST PETERSBURG, FL - OCTOBER 23: Fans of the Tampa Bay Rays stand outside the stadium prior to game two of the 2008 MLB World Series the Philadelphia Phillies on October 23, 2008 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

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 that seems headed toward a rebuild, or at least a re-tool, in their organization.

Rays 2017

Seemingly meshed together and not really a team that was expected to be a significant competitor in 2017, the Rays still finished tied for the final spot outside of the playoffs in the American League with an 80-82 record.

The Rays got a tremendous power output from first baseman Logan Morrison, who hit .246/.353/.516 with 38 home runs. Infielder Tim Beckham broke out, with a .259/.314/.407 line with the Rays, drawing trade interest enough to flip him midseason.

Star defensive outfielder Kevin Kiermaier was also good offensively when he was on the field, but he only played 98 games on the season, hitting .276/.338/.450 with 15 home runs and 16 stolen bases. His outfield mates Corey Dickerson and Steven Souza combined for 57 home runs (and 331 strikeouts!) on the season.

However, it was the pitching that allowed the Rays the opportunity to compete in 2017. While none of the full season staff posted a sub-3.00 ERA outside of reliever Tommy Hunter (2.61), none of the primary starting staff posted an ERA over 4.50, either. Staff leader Chris Archer put up a 4.07 ERA and 1.26 WHIP over 201 innings, with a 60/249 BB/K ratio.

Alex Cobb was the only other starter to clear 150 innings pitched, posting a 3.66 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. Arguably the most impressive performance on the season was from rookie Jake Faria, who threw 86 2/3 innings, with a 3.43 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and a 31/84 BB/K ratio.

Closer Alex Colome struggled some compared to previous seasons, but he was still able to lead the league in saves with 47. Sergio Romo proved an invaluable pickup, throwing 30 2/3 innings with a 1.47 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, and a 7/28 BB/K. Fellow reliever Steve Cishek also impressed in a short stint after being acquired midseason, posting a 1.09 ERA over 24 2/3 innings with a 0.81 WHIP along with a 7/26 BB/K ratio.

The Rays have already traded franchise icon Evan Longoria this offseason, and they are involved in trade discussions involving Archer, Odorizzi, and Colome, leading many to believe that the Rays will reset with a short-term rebuild.

Possible Trade Interest

Rays may want: Near-ready prospects, sorting out depth in infield and outfield. The Rays actually match up very well with the Twins simply because the Twins have a load of players who are near the major leagues and ready to contribute this season or next that could be attractive while the Rays have a number of players that could help the Twins at the major league level.

Twins may want: A power bat for the DH position, starting pitching, relief pitching

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Trade proposals

With those needs how could the Twins and Rays match up? Here are three ideas:

Trade proposal #1: (The Big One) Kennys Vargas, Fernando Romero, Nick Gordon, Kohl Stewart, LaMonte Wade, and Jake Reed for Alex Colome, Jake Odorizzi, and Matt Duffy. Yes, that is a load of talent going from Minnesota to Tampa Bay, and it is all AA or above talent, so certainly this deal would put a significant dent into the upper minors for the Twins, but for the rights to two control years of Odorizzi and three arbitration years of both Colome and Duffy, the price would be fairly heavy. Vargas does make some sense for the Rays as well as they lost multiple first base options to free agency this offseason.

Trade proposal #2: Nick Gordon, Felix Jorge, and Andrew Vazquez for Jake Odorizzi and Nick Ciuffo. Odorizzi has flown under the radar in the heavy Archer trade talk, but he’s developed into an extremely good #2/3 starter, which is really what Archer is as well. For the asked trade value, the Twins may be better off pursuing Odorizzi.

Ciuffo was recently exposed to Rule 5 by the Rays, but he has elite defensive skills that would fit very well in the upper minors if he’s able to be added to a deal, and the team could use catching depth in the upper minors, especially young upper minors catching depth.

Next: How offseason deals affect the Twins' plans

Trade proposal #3: Nick Gordon, Fernando Romero, and Gabriel Moya for Chris Archer. Archer is the popular name this offseason, but as explored previously by this writer, he’s not quite the ace he may seem. Even then, he’s an excellent young starter under control, and the trade of the pieces about would not be entirely crazy, though I’d certainly like to see a bit lower cost based on the concerns mentioned in the article linked.