Minnesota Twins: Ranking the Twins’ 3 Biggest Trade Needs

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Tyler Mahle pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks. (Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)
Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Tyler Mahle pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks. (Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Minnesota Twins
Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Bailey Ober delivers a pitch against the Kansas City Royals at Target Field. (Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports) /

Minnesota Twins Position of Need No. 2: Starting Pitcher

Some Twins fans may say that this is the biggest position of need, and I can understand why. The Twins rotation has been badly beaten up by injuries, and has had to rely on Chris Archer, Dylan Bundy, Devin Smeltzer, Cole Sands, and Chi Chi Gonzalez. That won’t work in the playoffs.

The reason that this position lands at number two on this list is because of the way that playoff rotations work. In the playoffs, teams need three starters for each series (maybe four if you have a fourth you’re confident in). The Twins are pretty close to having those three guys, and if they go into the playoffs with the rotation as is, it’s not the absolute worst thing that could happen.

Sonny Gray has looked like an ace all year (when he’s been healthy). and his peripherals back up his success. He’s a game one starter for a playoff series that you can have total confidence in. For your number two starter, Joe Ryan is a stellar option. He may not be an ace, but he’s a definite frontline starter. After those two there’s a big question mark.

Bailey Ober’s numbers suggest he’s a very good fourth starter, and could be the guy in a playoff game if needed, but he’s probably not the best bet. Dylan Bundy shouldn’t be on the roster, let alone starting a playoff game. Chris Archer and Devin Smeltzer (especially after his last few starts) are shaky AT BEST. That means another starter should be added.

In the true playoff starter market, Frankie Montas is probably out of the question. The Twins don’t have the prospect capital to bring him to Minnesota without raiding their system, and they likely won’t do that. Luis Castillo is probably a similar situation. That’s unfortunate, but there are definitely guys that the Twins could go out and get that would be a huge boost to the rotation.

I’ve talked at length about why Tyler Mahle is the best answer, and after the Twins made a deal to get Sonny Gray from the Reds, I’m sure another trade could be made. He should be the clear top target for the Minnesota Twins. If the Phillies truly bottom out before the deadline, Kyle Gibson could be a solid option as well.

If they opt to go the cheaper route (which isn’t a bad plan), Chad Kuhl, Drew Smyly, Jose Quintana would all be solid additions that would all be big upgrades over Archer, Bundy, and Smeltzer, but probably not the guy you want to give the ball to in Game 3. It’s a thin market, so there aren’t a ton of options.

Again, a starter isn’t the most desperate need the team has when it comes to the playoffs. The team might be just fine without one. I believe in Bailey Ober. With that being said, the team should be better than just fine, so adding a starter is still important, even if to replace the guys at the back end right now.