We are just days away from the MLB Trade Deadline and the Minnesota Twins are already starting to get active.
Only time will tell how active they end up being, but the front office has already made one trade and might be gearing up for more. President of Baseball Operations Derek Falvey mentioned that teams are calling about Minnesota's left-handed hitting outfielders and both bullpen and right-handed bats have been mentioned as possible deadline targets.
Last year's disaster at the deadline might scare the Twins off of making a splash, but they've already greased the trade wheels this week. Jorge Lopez, one of the aforementioned disastrous deadline acquisitions, was traded to the Marlins on Wednesday.
That was a smaller deal, but there are plenty of hitters on the market who could help the Twins navigate the rest of this season without experiencing an offensive drop off like we saw during the first half.
Twins Rumors: AL Central team named possible destination for Cody Bellinger
In a piece listing the likeliest landing spots for Bellinger, Bleacher Report mentioned an AL Central team but not the right one. Instead of the Twins, the Cleveland Guardians were among the Top 10 destinations for Bellinger if the Cubs end up trading him.
Not only that, but the Guardians were ranked No. 6 on the list, just behind teams like the Dodgers and Yankees.
"They need a bigger bat. Ranking 24th in OPS is not going to help realize their postseason dreams. They pride themselves on defense, and Bellinger is one of the better defensive outfielders in the game, so he'd fit right in," B/R's Brandon Scott wrote. "Despite scoring fewer runs than any other AL contender, Cleveland is within striking distance of the division lead, currently just two games behind the Minnesota Twins."
What makes this even more frustrating is how the script could be flipped if the Twins stopped playing with their food every night. Despite starting out the second half of the season hot, Minnesota feels like it's regressing back to the mean just as it did to start the season.
That's why it's the Twins, not the Guardians, who should be on lists like this for Bellinger. The offense has started to show big time signs of life, but we've watched the unit crater after getting hot before. Trading for Bellinger adds a left-handed bat to the lineup but also gives Minnesota an MVP-caliber player on offense who is slashing .312/.360/.545 right now.
Now, I know exactly what you're screaming at me about through the computer -- Bellinger is a left-handed hitting outfielder. But the level he's playing at this year should make him an exception to the rule and I'm not ducking away from this one.
Adding his kind of power to the offense would either continue to boost it or provide the sort of support it needs on nights when the bottom falls out. Not for nothing but the Twins would have a lineup with Bellinger, Buxton, and Correa in addition to guys who are white-hot like Alex Kirilloff and Edouard Julien. Now imagine what the offense could look like when Royce Lewis and Jorge Polanco return to it, and all of a sudden the Twins are looking like real contenders in the American League.
Of course, the better Bellinger continues to play the higher the price tag is going to be. A week ago it felt like he could be had for whatever the Cubs would get in draft compenstation for him plus a sweetener. Now it seems Bellinger's market might heat up the closer we get to the deadline, but if there's an AL Central team in on him it has to be the one in Minnesota and not the one out in Cleveland.