Minnesota Twins Offseason Trade Partner Profile: Los Angeles Dodgers
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, Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Houston Astros, and Los Angeles Angels. Next up is the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Dodgers were viewed as World Series contenders coming into 2018 after just missing winning it all in 2017, and they didn’t disappoint. The Dodgers finished the season 92-71 taking the highly competitive NL West division. The Dodgers again would make the World Series but ran into and lost to the machine that was the Boston Red Sox.
The season ending injury to Corey Seager in many ways defined 2018 for the Dodgers. It did open the door to trade for Manny Machado around the deadline. Machado was able to hit .273/.338/.487 with a .825 OPS and 13 home runs with the Dodgers. Max Muncy was also a surprising bright spot as he sported a .973 OPS on the season.
On the pitching end Kenley Jansen struggled to stay on the mound with heart issues that he will continue to address this offseason. He still proves to be a shut down closer sporting a 10.3 K/9. We were able to see why Walker Buehler has been a highly touted prospect as he started 23 games and sported a cool 2.62 ERA.
Possible Trade Interest
Dodgers may want: The Dodgers are mainly looking to add high-end impact players to their roster. The Twins don’t have many and/or won’t be willing to part with players of that sort. Where the Twins can help the Dodgers is that the L.A. club is looking to potentially shed some money from their payroll and the Twins could have room to absorb some contracts.
Twins may want: Twins still need impact bats and pitching help. Even any continued additions to the minor league system could be attractive for the Twins to help them with future trades and development of the next wave of young players.
Trade Proposal #1: OF Matt Kemp, C Will Smith for C Jason Castro, LHP Lewis Thorpe, and a third prospect
Kemp was just last season acquired by the Dodgers in a swap of bad contracts and the same could happen here again. Kemp is set to make $21.5 million dollars and is not a player of that caliber but still a serviceable one. Smith is a top 10 catching prospect according to MLB.com and could join forces with Mitch Garver as the Twins try to find a long term answer to the catching position.
Jason Castro could be a veteran presence at catcher for the Dodgers, but more importantly it helps the Twins save a little bit of money in this cash swap. Lewis Thorpe gives the Dodgers another arm to throw into their wealthy mix of pitching. Thorpe’s best path to the majors with the Dodgers would be as a bullpen arm. I have gone back and forth, but I think the Twins would need to throw a third prospect into this deal that maybe isn’t at the top of the system but someone with upside.
Trade Proposal #2: LHP Rich Hill for RHP John Curtiss or LHP Tyler Jay
Different trade, same goal for the Dodgers–dump salary. This is more of a true salary dump where the Twins would absorb all of Hill’s $18 million salary for 2019. Hill is old at 38 but was still valuable for the Dodgers in 2018 as he started 24 games, tossed 132.2 innings, and had a 3.66 ERA and a 150/41 strikeout to walk ratio. Hill would also add a left handed pitcher to the Twins rotation.
In return the Dodgers would get a choice between two bullpen arms. In all honesty neither is super exciting at this point even for the Twins who need bullpen help. As I said above, this trade is a straight salary dump to get the Dodgers under the luxury tax and even free up money to chase some big free agents.