The Minnesota Twins had been linked to some big names prior to the MLB trade deadline, but in the end, they came away with a solid haul.
The buildup to the trade deadline was an exciting one for the Minnesota Twins. With one of the best records in the American League, the Twins were focused on adding some arms to help their bullpen and possibly upgrade with one of the top available pitchers on the market. As the Twins were reportedly one of the more aggressive teams, they were linked to several big names along the way.
As Puckett’s Pond’s initial trade target rankings and shortlist posted on Wednesday morning came out, the list of names included Noah Syndergaard, Kirby Yates and Madison Bumgarner and others who would have made a big splash. In the end, the Twins were able to land two relievers who didn’t appear on either list, which drew the ire of some Twins fans.
The Twins weren’t able to make the blockbuster deal many had hoped for. But the thing is, they’re going to be OK.
The first domino to fall for the Twins was the trade for Sergio Romo from the Miami Marlins. Acting as the Marlins closer, Romo wasn’t as dominant as Yates or fellow trade target Ken Giles but has been more effective than what the Twins have been trotting out the past couple of weeks. With four relievers designated for assignment leading up to the deadline, the 36-year old adds a reliable arm and previous playoff experience to help the team moving forward.
In the second trade, the Twins landed Sam Dyson. The instant reaction of some fans was negative once realizing he gave up one of the greatest bat flips of all-time to Jose Bautista, but in reality, he’s what the Twins bullpen has been looking for. Dyson has just seven walks on the season and only allowed three home runs for the Giants in 2019. That combination of keeping the ball in the park and not adding to his own damage will be welcomed in the Twins’ bullpen.
Adding two off-the-radar relievers at the trade deadline isn’t going to make people forget that the Cleveland Indians added two power bats in exchange for Trevor Bauer or that the Houston Astros added Zack Greinke. However, the Twins issues have needed just a minor fix as opposed to a complete overhaul.
Taylor Rogers has been outstanding as the best reliever in the bullpen and the issue hasn’t been at the very end of games, it’s been getting the ball to him. By adding Dyson and Romo, the Twins have two relievers that have postseason experience and (most importantly) do their job in getting the ball to Rogers.
Take the Twins 14-12 defeat to the New York Yankees on July 23. The Twins bats were enough to get the job done and the Twins actually held leads of 8-2 and 9-5 in that contest. In the latter advantage, had the Twins had just one scoreless inning, they would have come away with the win and a series victory over the Yankees. Instead, Blake Parker imploded, Tyler Duffey couldn’t stop the bleeding, Rogers blew a save and the Twins would lose the swing game.
Even though the Twins bullpen has been rough, they’ve also taken the season series from the Astros (sans Greinke, of course) and have a 5-4 record with the Indians so far this year. The bottom line? The Twins can compete with these teams even with their bullpen being as bad as it was and by adding a couple of relievers, it improves their odds should they run into one of these teams in October.
There’s also the matter that the Twins didn’t give up much to get this done. For Romo, the Twins gave up Lewin Diaz, who was facing a tough 40-man roster decision next winter and for Dyson, they gave up three prospects not listed in MLB Pipeline’s top 30 Twins prospects.
Sure, it would have been fun to nab Syndergaard or Bumgarner, but the cost of starting pitching was so high (Drew Pomeranz and his 5.68 ERA nabbed Mauricio Dubon, who was the third-ranked prospect in the Milwaukee Brewers system) tossing Alex Kirilloff or Royce Lewis would have done more damage than it was worth.
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There could be other downfalls here (like relying on a team that hits home runs during frigid outdoor games in October), but the Twins did a solid job of adding to their bullpen without blowing up the entire roster. If the moves work out, this deadline will be a successful one no matter what anyone else did.