Minnesota Twins Trade No. 4: The Twins Find a Playoff Starter
Minnesota Twins Get: RHP Tyler Mahle
I first suggested Tyler Mahle would be a good fit for the Twins two months ago, when I offered up some prospective deals to land the Cincinnati Reds’ starter. I then suggested it again six weeks ago to fix the Twins’ biggest need. Then as the third best starter available at the deadline.
I kept it going this week by suggesting that the Twins make a move for him in my Trade Deadline Preview. Then, it finally happened, with the Twins adding Mahle today at the deadline for a package of solid prospects.
Mahle has been stellar over the past two years and immediately slots in as one of the Twins’ Top 3 starters. He’s phenomenal outside of Great American Ballpark, and he’ll be a key starter as the Twins make a run at the playoffs.
Cincinnati Reds Get: INF Spencer Steer, LHP Steve Hajjar, 1B/3B Christian Encarnacion-Strand
In order to get one of the best starters at the deadline, it cost the Twins a haul. We ranked Spencer Steer as the seventh-best prospect in the system, Hajjar is fourteenth, and Encarnacion-Strand is fifteenth.
All three are in the middle of excellent seasons, but they each have flaws. Steer was blocked in the majors by Jose Miranda and Jorge Polanco. Hajjar has real upside, but he’s never pitched past Low-A. Encarnacion-Strand has proven to have an elite bat at A+ and AA, but his glove is a serious work in progress.
The Twins landed a legitimate Top 3 starter who will be able to start a playoff game (provided the Twins make it there). That’s exactly what they needed. The price was expensive, as Encarnacion-Strand and Hajjar have major talent, but it’s worth it to get a pitcher of Mahle’s caliber for at least a year (and if they can extend him, possibly more).