What trade bait could the Twins realistically offer at the deadline this year?

If the Twins make a trade at the deadline, who should be considered bait and who should be kept safe?
Jose Miranda is among the surging players the Minnesota Twins will have to decide on whether or not to trade at the deadline.
Jose Miranda is among the surging players the Minnesota Twins will have to decide on whether or not to trade at the deadline. / David Berding/GettyImages

We’re about a month away from the MLB Trade Deadline, and already the rumor mill is starting to turn faster and harder. 

The Minnesota Twins are still scarred from what happened two deadlines ago, when trades for Jorge Lopez and Tyler Mahle blew up in everyone’s face. Well, it cratered for everyone except the Reds and Orioles who came away with solid top prospects from the Twins’ farm system. 

Watching those deals bust so hard is one of the reasons Minnesota sat out the trade deadline last year. Another reason was in-house talent, something the Twins weren’t willing to part with and believed made the team better than any external deal it could make.

Whether or not that line of thinking holds up for a second straight year is the big question for Minnesota as the deadline nears. There are clear needs the team has after failing to properly address the roster over the winter, with starting pitching already looking like an Achilles heel come October. 

Rumor mill winds have whispered Minnesota’s name in connection with a few notable trades. Pulling one of them off means assessing what assets the team has, though, and which players should and shouldn’t be included in deals. 

Twins prospects who should be considered untouchable?

There are a few levels to this: prospects who should not be traded under absolutely any circumstance, and prospects the Twins would need a true blockbuster to part with. 

Walker Jenkins, Emmanuel Rodriguez, Brooks Lee, and David Festa are Top 100 prospects the Twins would be insane to trade. Unless they’re getting Mike Trout, Aaron Judge, or Paul Skenes back in a trade — which would never in a million years be deals that get offered — Minnesota should hold onto their top guys and continue baking them into the future. 

Luke Keaschall is close to being in that group, but he’s a prospect the Twins could part with if it meant landing Jesus Luzardo or a top starting pitcher that makes them serious World Series contenders. Keaschall’s stock continues to rise as he carves up the minors, and if he continues to develop at his current clip then he could be on Brooks Lee-levels this time next year. 

All other prospects below him, guys like Marco Raya and DeShawn Kiersey, could be considered trade bait if the right deal comes around. 

Which MLB players could the Twins use as trade bait?

It goes without who the untouchable Twins players are, and there really aren’t a lot of players on the 26-man roster — or who have recently been on hit — worth trading. 

There’s a sharp divide between guys like Royce Lewis, Carlos Correa, and Byron Buxton who aren’t going anywhere under any circumstances, and struggling players like Christian Vazquez, Kyle Farmer, and Manuel Margot who won’t net a huge return. The middle ground of guys with value is slim, and it begs the question of how much the Twins can truly improve by trading them away. 

Max Kepler was a popular name in trade rumors this winter, but never ended up getting dealt after Jorge Polanco was moved. Alex Kirilloff feels like a player who should have decent trade value, but he’s struggled offensively and is on the IL with a back injury.

None of the Twins starters will get dealt, especially since that’s the main area the team would likely acquire help, and the bullpen was the only place the team meaningfully invested in this offseason and seems to be in a good place. 

A case could be made for selling high on Jose Miranda, Trevor Larnach, or Matt Wallner but would trading them actually make the Twins better or just move the need to improve around the roster? That’s the main argument against trading Kepler, as he might have great value but losing him wouldn’t make Minnesota better. 

There’s a path forward for the Twins where the team makes a trade, and it might be that an asset that fans don’t want to part with is involved. History has scarred Minnesota, though, so the approach will at least be careful when it comes to pillaging the current roster to try and make it better.

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