Minnesota Twins: Why Derek Shelton’s departure could bring framework for Chris Archer trade
By Chris Schad
The Minnesota Twins lost their bench coach on Wednesday, but the new Pittsburgh Pirates manager could help pave the way to land Chris Archer.
As the Minnesota Twins continue to scour the landscape of the free-agent pitching market, they still need to fill three spots in their starting rotation. With Jake Odorizzi and Jose Berrios already in the fold, the Twins have been in on the chase to acquire Zack Wheeler and several other names could appear as we get deeper into the hot stove season.
But while everyone is focused on the free-agent market, the other avenue for the Twins can improve the rotation is via trade. A lot of names may leave a lot to desired, but one name that we have brought up here at Puckett’s Pond is Pittsburgh Pirates starter Chris Archer.
On Wednesday, the Pirates announced that they hired bench coach Derek Shelton to replace Clint Hurdle. The hiring signals the end of a dumpster fire in the Steel City as fights, arrests and everything else have necessitated a massive overhaul which also included the hiring of general manager Ben Cherrington.
For multiple reasons, a starter like Archer should be on the Twins radar. He’s cheap (due $9 million in 2020 after the PIrates picked up his option) and has plenty of upside as a two-time All-Star, but fell off a cliff in Pittsburgh going 3-9 last season.
In a perfect world, Cherrington would like to get as much as possible in return for Archer, but the reality is he’s selling low unless he wants to gamble on Archer having a bounce-back season. However, with the Pirates going into a massive rebuild, he may have to take what he can get.
That’s where the hiring of Shelton comes into play as an advantage for the Twins. While it’s unlikely that this would be the entirety of the deal, Shelton’s knowledge of the Twins could have him interested in Eddie Rosario, who is rumored to be on the move as he enters his arbitration years.
While Shelton probably knows the dangers that come with Rosario (such as an on-base percentage that barely reached .300 in 2019), he does know what he can do with his bat including his power that recorded a career-high 32 HR and 109 RBI last season. Those numbers would look great in a Pittsburgh lineup that ranked 20th in runs scored last season.
Adding Rosario also gives the Pirates another reason to trade Starling Marte, who is coming off a strong offensive season of his own (.295, 25 HR, 82 RBI) but is also owed $11.5 million next season and is four years older than Rosario.
Does the hiring of Shelton mean that the framework of a Rosario-for-Archer swap is a given? Absolutely not. But as a face that Shelton knows well, it’s possible he could like for someone he knows to help start what could be a long rebuilding process in Pittsburgh.