The Minnesota Twins bring Buck over the Border
Minnesota Twins Trade: CF Byron Buxton
Milwaukee Brewers Trade: LHP Aaron Ashby, LHP Ethan Small, OF Jackie Bradley Jr., and Cash
The Brewers had a successful season, winning 95 games and the NL Central, before being defeated in the NLDS by the eventual champs, the Atlanta Braves. The Brew Crew has all the pitching in the world, but what betrayed them was their offense that went ice cold in the playoffs and was below league average the whole season. They could definitely use a boost.
Aaron Ashby is a promising young lefty with a nasty slider and above-average fastball and changeup. He made his debut last season, posting a 4.55 ERA over 31.2 IP in 13 games, four of them starts. He generated a lot of strikeouts, sitting down 29.3% of the batters he faced after a 36.2 K% in Triple-A.
He does have some command issues, walking 3.97 batters every nine innings in his minor league career. But he really limits the hard contact after a promising 3.01 xERA and .322 xSLG with Milwaukee.
He projects as a mid-rotation starter, which is fine with me for one season of Byron Buxton, especially because he’s just 23. And with the rotation in the state it is, he could potentially be the number one or two guy.
Ethan Small is a nice prospect who has a career 1.74 minor league ERA. He’s the Brewers’ fifth-ranked prospect and has the tools to put up low walks and above-average strikeouts. He has yet to make his major league debut, but he’s 24-years old and could get the call this upcoming season.
Then there’s Jackie Bradley Jr. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. He had a disastrous season at the plate, slashing .163/.236/.261 with six home runs and seven stolen bases in 134 games. But the Brewers aren’t a big market team and probably don’t have much more to spend. So by taking on Buxton’s salary, we’ll have to take some of Bradley’s too.
According to Spotrac, he’s going to make $9.5 million next season. However, with Milwaukee throwing in some cash- let’s say $4 million- we’ll only be paying $4.5 million for a speedy, good defensive outfielder who posted a .814 OPS in 2020. I’ll gladly take that on for the young pitching we’d be receiving.
Trading Buxton would be a tough pill to swallow. However, baseball is a business, and decisions have to be made. I would rather extend Buxton if both sides can agree to a contract. But there’s a good chance they won’t, and in that case, a trade might not be so bad.
Tanking is not the right route to go, in my opinion. However, trading the former second overall pick doesn’t need to signal a rebuild. It’s possible to trade a star player while keeping the team competitive. Just look at the Rays!
All three of these scenarios, I feel, would keep the Twins in a playoff hunt this upcoming season, even without our star player. I’d rather that than lose him outright and go into a full rebuild. If the Twins front office happened to strike one of these deals, it would soften the blow of losing the face of the franchise.