Minnesota Twins 2018-2019 Trade Partner Profile: Detroit Tigers
By Nate Palmer
The Minnesota Twins 2018-2019 offseason is here. Here we explore who could be their trade partners as they look to return to the playoffs.
The Minnesota Twins need to make some moves with the offseason now upon us. Free agents will attract a lot of the attention over the next several weeks as there are several big name free agents potentially looking for a new team and new big and shiny deal.
The Twins should very much be able to be in the conversation with many free agent names, but what will be just as if not more important for the Twins is the trade market. The Twins front office has pointed to the Twins minor league assets as a strength to help them acquire some additions to their roster. We will attempt to work through each team in baseball and find some trades that work for both sides. We have already explored possibilities with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, and Colorado Rockies. Next up is the Detroit Tigers.
The Tigers surprised teams for the first part of the 2018 season as their new manager and former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire had them playing competitive baseball and in the division conversation. That competitive level of play was not sustained as they settled into a record of 64-98 and finished third in the American League Central.
Miguel Cabrera was hitting well with a .299/.395/.448 and a .843 OPS before Twins fans got a front seat view to a ruptured left bicep that would end his season. Outfielder Nick Castellanos also had another great season as he hit .298/.354/.500 and 23 home runs.
Former Twins minor leaguer Niko Goodrum was also a constant thorn in the Twins side as he had a good season as the Tigers utility player finished with a .245/.315/.432 slash line. And current free agent shortstop Jose Iglesias turned in another solid season and will have suitors looking his direction who are looking to upgrade at shortstop this offseason.
Possible Trade Interest
Tigers may want: The Tigers are in the middle of their rebuild and will likely be looking for prospects or young controllable talent.
Twins may want: The Twins need someone for the middle infield, corner infield, and pitching upgrades. The Tigers have some impact bats that the Twins could be interested in, but trades within the division always become tricky even if they shouldn’t.
Trade Proposal #1: OF Nick Castellanos for LHP Lewis Thorpe, 2B/OF Luis Arraez
Nick Castellanos is in the final year of arbitration and is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to make $11.3 million. So unless the Tigers plan on trying to work out a long-term deal with the outfielder the Twins could find a way to put him in the middle of their lineup. He has played some third base as well, but no matter where he lands defensively he is there for his 20 plus home run bat and .854 OPS not his glove.
It would feel weird trading away Arraez after just adding him to the 40-man but the Tigers need help in their middle infield. And while a lot of the Tigers top prospects are pitchers, Thorpe can help deepen the talent pool their that much more. If I was the Tigers I would push for Nick Gordon, but for the Twins that just feels like too steep of a price for one season of a good hitter in Castellanos. A third, low-level prospect may be appropriate to add as part of what the Tigers would receive.
Trade Proposal #2: 1B Miguel Cabrera and cash for 2B/SS Nick Gordon, RHP Zack Littell, 1B Lewin Diaz
This is pretty unlikely to happen, but considering the Tigers mid-rebuild status it becomes difficult to find trades that truly help both sides. The prospect of getting out of Cabrera’s contract is something the Tigers may very well like to do at this point. There are 7 seasons left on his contract at $30 million per season. Cabrera’s ability to hit was under questions in 2017, but the beginning of 2018 gives some hope that he may still have some solid years ahead of him.
Of course, I really wouldn’t want that contract and since the Twins don’t really have much in the way of bad contracts the prospect package was of a lower value than it normally would be. Gordon as mentioned before can help the Tigers middle infield needs. Littell may help the Tigers MLB pitching staff soon and Lewin Diaz could be in the mix to eventually replace Cabrera at first.