Minnesota Twins: Could the Twins move a key reliever this offseason?

In 2021, the Minnesota Twins fell flat on their faces, finishing last in their division after back to back American League Central titles. This put the Twins in a tough spot, forcing the team to trade away their best hitter and pitcher.

This offseason, the team locked up their franchise player in Byron Buxton, answering the team’s key question going into next season, but the bigger question becomes the direction of the team going forward.

The lineup is still solid, assuming everyone could stay healthy, with Buxton, Mitch Garver, Jorge Polanco, and Josh Donaldson offering a lot of power that’s under contract for the next few seasons. The bench is strong too, with Nick Gordon, Ryan Jeffers, and Luis Arraez offering versatility and talent.

The issue is the pitching. The Twins have a solid bullpen, with Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, and Caleb Thielbar, leading a group that, when healthy, is one of the deepest in baseball. The rotation on the other hand is a complete mess, with only Dylan Bundy, Bailey Ober, and Joe Ryan.

Could the Minnesota Twins trade a key reliever before the 2022 season?

Because the starting pitching is such a problem and with loads of top pitching prospects right on the edge of the majors, the team could opt to move a reliever or two before the offseason is done. This may actually work out for the Twins.

Rogers and Duffey are the two most likely candidates here. Both players are extremely talented with lengthy histories of production, and the Twins could want to move on from them before they reach free agency in 2023.

Caleb Thielbar could be the most valuable trade chip they have though. He has two more years of team control and has been stellar in the past two seasons, making him a great potential option. With that being said though, Thielbar is a Minnesota boy who likely doesn’t want to go anywhere.

Unfortunately for the Twins, they can’t simply swap out a reliever for a starter, because even for Thielbar, the value isn’t there. They also can’t package relievers who are on expiring deals with a prospect (because if you want one, you probably aren’t looking for the other), so the Twins would likely be looking for more prospect talent.

The team is a little thin on catching prospects, so if a team would be willing to let go of a solid catching prospect for one (or both, depending on the prospect(s)) of the relievers with only a year left on their deal.

Now this isn’t a deal we want to make, but if the Twins are forced to make a trade, it would serve them well to trade from a place where they have a lot of talent. Let’s see if they decide to make that move.