The Minnesota Twins are finally playing the way fans had expected heading into the 2018 season. Although it’s only the second week of May, it’s never too early to look at players who could help this team this season.
Today, we’ll be taking a look at five players, who should be available on the trade market, that can help the Minnesota Twins contend for the AL Central. We won’t be looking at the potential cost for these players, rather we’ll examine the impact each can potentially provide the Twins.
As you navigate through this list you’ll inevitably notice the biggest name available is absent. The reason Manny Machado is not included is that he’s the type of player that can help ANY team and obviously Minnesota should show interest. Also, we recently covered a potential Machado trade here and will focus on a fresh group of players instead.
However, before we get into the list, we’ll look at a player Minnesota should have traded for while he was available during the offseason. Jesus Aguilar entered the 2018 season as part of a logjam at first base for the Milwaukee Brewers. However, he has become one of the Brewers more consistent hitters and the price tag for his services only continues to rise.
A missed opportunity
I hear Twins fans constantly talk about “finding the next David Ortiz“. Whether it’s about not releasing a player too soon (Kennys Vargas) or its remaining patient with a player who has upside through the roof (Miguel Sano), it inevitably comes back to Ortiz for Twins fans. Unfortunately, the Minnesota Twins missed the boat on acquiring a player surprisingly similar to Ortiz.
Much like Ortiz, Aguilar found himself designated for assignment by the Cleveland Indians entering the 2017 season. Aguilar hit .265 with 16 home runs and 52 runs batted in during limited action for the Brewers during last season.
With Eric Thames already entrenched at first base, and Ryan Braun seeing action there part-time, Aguilar’s role was expected to be greatly reduced this season. However, Aguilar has forced himself into the lineup everyday with his consistent production to start the year.
Aguilar has the look of a typical DH/first base only type of player. However, he is surprisingly agile for his size while providing solid glove work at first base. He’s a relentless hitter who knows how to work the count and wait for his pitch, as evidenced by his 13-pitch at-bat that led to a walk-off home run earlier this season. Aguilar has effortless power and makes hitting home runs look easy. I’ve seen players swing harder while missing the baseball than Aguilar swings to hit it 400 feet. He has the chance to be a special player, all he needs is the opportunity.
Why Minnesota would have been perfect
Minnesota would have been the perfect fit for Aguilar to reach his potential. Robbie Grossman is usually the choice when manager Paul Molitor goes with a right-handed DH. However, Grossman brings almost nothing spectacular to the table and at times has hindered the Twins success. Aguilar is a prototypical DH with game-changing power who would have made a huge difference in the lineup. He could have provided the type of power that the front office was hoping for after signing Logan Morrison during the offseason.
When Thames returns from injury for Milwaukee, Aguilar will be back to being a part-time player again. The Brewers will almost certainly entertain offers for Aguilar as the trade deadline approaches and the Twins should definitely kick the tires. However, the cost will be much higher now than it was in January, but it’s still worth keeping tabs on.
Aguilar is unlikely to end up mashing mammoth home runs at Target Field for the Minnesota Twins. However, these next five players could easily find themselves playing in the Twin Cities before this season comes to a close.