The Minnesota Twins’ search for bullpen arms continues and there are a bunch of options that could help the team as they head toward the trade deadline.
On July 1st, the Minnesota Twins held what seemed like a comfortable eight-game lead in the American League Central Division over the Cleveland Indians. Things seemed even cozier after the Twins took two out of three games against the Indians in Cleveland to start the second half the season that gave the Twins a six-game lead.
Fast forward to the present and Twins Territory is now on the edge of their seats. That comfortable lead in the division has turned to ash and it’s like Thanos snapped his fingers. Rocco, Twins Territory doesn’t feel so good. That lead in the division is now just four games, as the Twins have lost three straight, while the Indians have gone 8-2 in their last 10 games.
In Wednesday’s loss to the New York Mets, the bullpen for the Twins surrendered 12 hits, 12 runs, six earned runs, and two home runs. All that damage came in three innings of work.
It hasn’t been all doom and gloom for the bullpen. In Tuesday’s loss to the Mets, the bullpen pitched three innings and gave up just one hit.
As it stands right now the Twins bullpen ranks 12th in earned run average (4.29). Not terrible, but it’s not great either. The Twins, like every contending team, will be looking up and down every avenue to find a way to upgrade their bullpen until the July 31st trade deadline. Here is a look at six relief pitchers that could help shore up that bullpen.
Will Smith, San Francisco Giants: Get ready to hear a lot about the Giants. The Giants have a lot of bullpen pieces and the hottest commodity will be the closer. Smith, an all-star, has been lights out for the Giants. Up until July 12th, Smith was a perfect 23 for 23 in save opportunities. Smith is currently pitching on a one-year deal, and will likely cost the Twins a top-15 prospect.
The question is will the Giants trade Smith after their recent surge? The Giants have won five straight and are currently 2.5 games out of the second wild card spot in the National League. Andrew Baggarly, a Giants beat writer for The Athletic touched on this subject in an article the other day. To sum up what he wrote, the Giants can deal from their bevy of attractive bullpen arms and still try to contend by replacing them with younger arms from their farm system. Proposed Trade: Twins trade Yunior Severino (2B/SS) and Johan Quezada (P) for Smith.
Tony Watson, Giants: Tired of hearing about the Giants yet? Watson is under contract for another year and likely wouldn’t cost the Twins a top 30 prospect. The 34-year old, left-handed pitcher sports a respectable 3.03 ERA. As of now the Twins only have one southpaw in their bullpen and could use another lefty to utilize. Proposed Trade: Twins trade Cole Sands (P) for Watson.
Alex Colome, Chicago White Sox: The 30-year old right-handed pitcher has had a solid season for the White Sox. He boasts a 2.39 ERA, a WHIP of .80 and has 20 saves. He’s 20 for 21 in save opportunities. Since it would be a trade within the division it may cost a little more to get Colome, but with him being a rental, the asking price likely wouldn’t be too high. Proposed Trade: Twins trade Luis Rijo (P) for Colome.
Sam Dyson, Giants: What’s this guys obsession with Giant’s relief pitchers? Like Watson, Dyson is under team control until 2020. This season Watson has been solid for the Giants, boasting a 2.74 ERA and a WHIP of .93. Right-handed batters are hitting just .204 off him this season. With how well Watson has pitched since April, the Giants may be looking to get a top 30 prospect from the Twins. Proposed Trade: Twins trade Jax Griffin (P) for Dyson.
Shane Greene, Detroit Tigers: Greene has been spectacular this season for a lousy Tigers team. Greene owns a 1.06 ERA and a .85 WHIP in 34 appearances. The 30-year old, right-handed pitcher also has 22 saves. Proposed Trade: Twins trade Blayne Enlow (P) for Greene.
Francisco Liriano, Pittsburgh Pirates: Trading for Liriano would be a low-risk move for the Twins. The former Twins starting pitcher has had a solid year coming out of the bullpen for the Pirates. In 12 appearances in April, the southpaw didn’t give up a run and struck out 14 batters in 10.2 innings. In the month of May, he owned an ERA of 1.72. The past two months have not been kind to the 35-year old. In June he had an ERA of 5.93. Thus far in July, he has an ERA of 7.50. Needless to say, those numbers are not great for a team that’s looking to upgrade their bullpen. However, maybe a change of scenery will help Liriano rediscover some of his old magic. As mentioned earlier in the article, the Twins could use another lefty coming out of the bullpen. Proposed Trade: Twins trade Josh Winder (P) for Liriano.