With the Trade Deadline Rumors Swirling, the Minnesota Twins made the decision to not make any trades. Here’s why that was the right move.
The Major League Baseball Trade Deadline has come and gone, and the Minnesota Twins opted to stay put, making no trade moves, with the only move the team made over the weekend was to send Lewis Thorpe down to the alternate training site.
This has frustrated a lot of Twins fans, who are always hoping to make a big move. They decried that the Pohlads are killing this team, the Twins offense is falling apart, and that the Twins are never going to win a World Series at this pace. I think this is a really big overreaction.
Yes, the Twins are 20-15 and a game and a half back of Cleveland and Chicago. But it’s actually okay. No really, I promise. I know I said the Twins need an ace to win a World Series, but there wasn’t one available (Mike Clevinger was not going to stay within the division, Trevor Bauer wasn’t leaving Cincinnati).
Because of this, the Twins made the right move by making no move. Bare with me for a little bit, and I can prove to you that the Minnesota Twins are in the right here.
Reason No. 1: There weren’t any Stars available for the Minnesota Twins
In order for the Minnesota Twins to make a trade, they would have wanted a player who would have been a real upgrade at a position. That’s the right idea, but in this shortened season, there really weren’t any great players available.
Teams were judging what they saw in the first half to try and make it into the sixteen-team playoff race. This larger field meant teams thought they could make the field and didn’t have to sell. The Reds, Orioles, Blue Jays, and Marlins all would likely look to sell in a normal year, but they were buyers in 2020.
This meant that star players just weren’t there. Mike Clevinger, Starling Marte, and Austin Nola were the biggest names traded, and Clevinger was only traded because he broke the team’s trust. This means there wasn’t anyone that great to get. This leads to Reason No. 2…
Reason No. 2: Prices were off the chart for the Minnesota Twins’ needs
The lack of big names meant the medium names went for ridiculous prices. Austin Nola, a 30-year-old with just 108 MLB games played, and two relievers netted Taylor Trammel (The No. 60 Prospect in the MLB) and three solid majors level pieces. That’s a MAJOR haul for a good but not great player.
For Clevinger, the Padres gave up a very good swingman, an outfielder who has good offensive talent, one of the best defensive catchers in all of baseball, and the #7, #9, and #11 prospects for the top pitcher available. That’s a really massive return for a pitcher who had pretty much forced his way out.
The return for Starling Marte, a one-time All-Star who has just one season left (an option) on his deal, was a No. 3 starter with a lot of upside and Humberto Mejia, a minor leaguer who shot through the minors and struck out 11 in 10 innings in his first MLB games.
This was a league-wide thing, where teams wanted A LOT if they were going to move some of their trade chips. Darren Wolfson tweeted this about that claim:
It’s an emotional time right this second for many fans, so I get the reaction. Ask was Royce, Alex, or Trevor for just about anyone with control beyond this year. HOU, CWS, NYY, TB all quiet too. #MNTwins, even if the 7 seed, can make a run with a healthy squad. Buckle up! https://t.co/ZDyxAzCOLa
— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) August 31, 2020
This is important to remember. Royce Lewis, Alex Kirilloff, and Trevor Larnach, the Twins’ Top 3 Prospects, was the STARTING POINT from the Twins for any starting pitcher. That’s a ridiculous ask. Kirilloff and Larnach showed in Spring Training they’re MLB-ready and it looks like they’re being held down for service time, while the ceiling for Lewis is still massively high.
This brings me to the point: it’s not worth it. Is Dylan Bundy really an upgrade over Kenta Maeda, Randy Dobnak, Jose Berrios, Rich Hill, Jake Odorizzi, and now Michael Pineda? Probably. Is he worth any of the big three? Absolutely Not.
The Twins didn’t need to give up their top prospects for a pitcher unless that guy was going to be their Number 1 Starter in a playoff Series. The Minnesota Twins weren’t going to top Kenta Maeda in the trade market. That’s why they didn’t make a trade.
Reason No. 3: Most Contenders (like the Minnesota Twins) Stayed Put
The Minnesota Twins aren’t the only team to not make a move during this trade deadline, as this was one of the quietest deadlines in a while. It’s easy to see why. Only the Pittsburgh Pirates, Arizona Diamondbacks, Boston Red Sox, Kansas City Royals, Seattle Mariners, and Texas Rangers seem to believe they are out of contention.
With so few valuable trade chips, the New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox, Houston Astros, Atlanta Braves, and Los Angeles Dodgers all decided to stay out of the mix. On top of that, Cleveland and Tampa Bay only traded away contributors and the Chicago Cubs added a reliever. That was it, because the market was so dry.
The only teams that really went after it were the Toronto Blue Jays, Miami Marlins, and the San Diego Padres. The Blue Jays and Marlins are on the edge of contending, so they wanted to fight their way into the playoffs. The Padres were the only team to go all-in.
You can’t get mad at the Twins for staying put when almost EVERY OTHER TEAM DID. There simply wasn’t enough talent to go around, and that’s okay. These teams felt comfortable. There’s a reason for that.
Reason No. 4: The Minnesota Twins Reinforcements are Coming
The final reason that the Twins didn’t need to make a move is that the best players the team is missing are finally coming back. Byron Buxton, Josh Donaldson, and Michael Pineda all are schedule to return either Tuesday Night or Wednesday night of this week.
On top of those three major pieces returning, key 2019 guys Jake Odorizzi, Zack Littell, and Mitch Garver will return at some point (hopefully at an improved level with full health). Add in Cody Stashak and that’s seven guys who had good seasons in 2019 that the Twins get coming back.
The Twins did what all of the top contending teams did. They held tight, avoided spending too much on a player who wouldn’t be worth it, and are waiting till their team is healthy again. It may not be an exciting trade deadline, but it was a smart one.