Minnesota Twins Offseason Trade Partner Profile: Texas Rangers
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 is fighting to stay relevant in the suddenly difficult American League West, the Texas Rangers.
On paper, the Texas Rangers should have been a competitive team in 2017, and in looking at the stat sheets, there’s not a ton there that screams a team that should have had a sub-.500 record, yet the pieces never seemed to come together at the right time all season for the Rangers, and the final season record was 78-84.
Certainly injuries were an issue with the Rangers, as no pitcher threw 200 innings in the rotation, only one made more than 60 appearances in the bullpen, and only two played 150 or more games in the every day lineup.
One pair that wasn’t injured was the double play combination of Rougned Odor and Elvis Andrus, with 162 and 158 games played, though with quite opposite results. Odor had a very rough year, hitting .204/.252/.397 (though he did hit 30 home runs). Andrus, on the other hand, had a career-high power output, hitting .297/.337/.471 with 44 doubles, 20 home runs, and 25 stolen bases.
Joey Gallo had a similar effective line as Odor, though he was able to coax walks, with a .209/.333/.537 line with 41 home runs, though he did strike out 196 times on the season. He played a lot of third base as future Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre played just 94 games, though he did hit .313/.383/.532 with 17 home runs in that time.
The Rangers were also very pleased with the play of catcher Robinson Chirinos, which allowed them to trade away Jonathan Lucroy. Chirinos hit .255/.360/.506 with 17 home runs in just 309 plate appearances.
The Rangers took a chance on two former Padres pitchers for their 2017 rotation and got exact opposite results. Andrew Cashner wasn’t the same strikeout pitcher he was before, but he put together an excellent performer, making 28 starts, throwing 166 2/3 innings, posting a 3.40 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. Tyson Ross was the other one-year guy, and he was a disaster, posting a 7.71 ERA in just 49 innings over 12 appearances, 10 of them starts.
The Rangers’ pair of aces at the top of their rotation, Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels, were not full season pitchers for the Rangers as Darvish was traded mid-season, and Hamels missed time with injury, making just 24 starts with 148 innings thrown.
The Rangers did find a gem in the bullpen in sinkerballer Alex Claudio, who made 70 appearances, throwing 82 2/3 innings, saving 11 games, with a 2.50 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, and a 15/56 BB/K ratio.
Keone Kela was an excellent complement to Claudio when healthy, making just 39 appearances, but posting a 2.79 ERA and striking out 51 over 38 2/3 innings. Matt Bush was a bit up and down in his performance, finishing with a 3.78 ERA over 57 appearances and 52 1/3 innings, striking out 58 in that time.
Possible Trade Interest
Rangers may want: Depth, Sure innings for rotation, bullpen depth. The Rangers have a need for a starter after an incident involving a bull (seriously!) injuring innings leader Martin Perez, which currently inks Matt Bush into the rotation, whereas the Rangers would like to stretch him out slowly rather than count on Bush for opening day. With Mike Minor having relieved in 2017 and Doug Fister not having a lot of innings the last few seasons either, the Rangers need some reliable innings in their rotation right now, which is why they’re still in the free agent market, but they are not just looking for one starter.
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 Rangers match up? Here are three ideas:
Trade proposal #1: Kennys Vargas and Buddy Boshers for Jurickson Profar and Matt Whatley. The Rangers are currently prepared to open 2018 with Joey Gallo at first base, and while Gallo has plenty of power to offer, he has struggled some with his defensive reactions moving to first base. Adding the switch-hitting Vargas would allow the Rangers a power bat with experience playing a solid first base defensively as well while Boshers would offer a lefty relief arm to a bullpen with just two in the realistic options right now heading into spring training.
Profar has a significant need for a change of scenery at this point. While he’s not the same guy who was the top overall prospect in baseball at one point, he has significant skills that could be utilized in the major leagues and working with Twins hitting coach James Rowson, he could really blossom. Whatley is a 2017 draftee at catcher with excellent defensive skills that could be a target as a secondary piece of a deal.
Trade proposal #2: Kyle Gibson and Ehire Adrianza for Jurickson Profar and Michael Matuella. This would obviously be due to the Twins getting a deal in place for another starter, whether it be through the trade market or free agent market, making Gibson movable. Gibson would give the Rangers a viable arm that should be consistent in giving innings, and his quality run to end the season would be a selling point for sure.
The Twins like Adrianza’s ability to handle infield and outfield, but getting Profar back would allow the Twins to move Ehire. Matuella was a guy who fell in the draft a couple years back due to recovery from surgery, and he’s been old for his level, but he’s shown well in his recovery so far and could be a guy who moves fast in 2018.
Next: How offseason deals affect the Twins' plans
Trade proposal #3: Eduardo Escobar and Tyler Jay for Jurickson Profar, Hans Crouse, and Joe Palumbo. With Beltre aging and Gallo new to the first sack, the Rangers would certainly have to be interested in Escobar, and trading him coming off what is likely going to be a career year would be a smart move by the Twins. Adding in Tyler Jay off of impressive performances (albeit not excellent results overall) at the Arizona Fall League as a lefty reliever, and the Rangers would get a fairly valuable trade package.
That’s why the return package would add in two fairly high-value arms along with Profar. Crouse is a guy who was dominant in the summer of 2016 in the showcase circuit and is a workhorse on the mound with mechanics that you wouldn’t want to teach someone (but seem to work for him). Palumbo has been a slow-developing pitcher that had really turned into an excellent pitcher before Tommy John shut him down early in 2017, meaning a likely return mid-2018.