The Twins were quiet; should they have made a trade?
Free excerpt + podcast from the exciting few hours leading up to Monday's MLB Trade Deadline
I wrote at length for members about the Twins and the MLB Trade Deadline, and I wanted to share an extended excerpt with everyone here. Below you’ll find several thoughts, and the rest of the column also includes my breakdown of the Indians’ Mike Clevinger trade, and two players who got traded Monday that I thought would have been intriguing targets for Minnesota.
In other news, I’m doing a few solo podcasts just to try it out. Listen to the show here, and let me know what you think.
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MLB Trade Deadline came and went Monday afternoon and there was a surprising flurry of activity around the league. The Twins sat it out, and instead will bank on their banged-up roster getting healthy in time to look like it was supposed to look for October.
Oh, and there’s a race to run in the meantime.
Thought #1- Relatively Quiet on the Home Front, and thoughts on the 2020 MLB Trade Deadline
The Twins had a quiet deadline, and the instant reaction from many fans and newsletter readers will be that this is the third-most popular trade deadline (of four) under Derek Falvey and Thad Levine. More on the order in a minute.
Before we’re through today, let’s make sure to touch on some of the fun what-ifs, evaluate the competition, and spit out some thoughts on a trade deadline in a season that can only be described as unusual.
I thought, as I wrote to you in a previous letter, that the Twins could use an ace bullpen arm if one ever became available for any reasonable price. And to be clear, I like the Twins’ bullpen, perhaps more than most. I just know that in October when you’re counting on your 4 best starters and 4-6 best arms out of the bullpen – perhaps especially in a longer postseason – then it sure does pay to be super top-heavy rather than deep. (Others chimed in that a right-handed hitter would be nice instead of trotting out a lefty-heavy lineup to get carved up repeatedly by left-handed pitchers, and, true, that would have been a good outcome, too. To that crowd, the Twins probably are hoping that the soon-to-return third baseman or centerfielder or catcher can help with that, and we’ll have to see.)
Among relievers actually dealt, Archie Bradley might be the biggest name. Or Trevor Ronsenthal, depending on what years and in what divisions you’ve invested most of your baseball interest. The Orioles also dealt Mychal Givens and Miguel Castro, for that matter. David Phelps went from the Brewers to the Phillies. But anyway, there was no Aroldis Chapman or Andrew Miller type reliever deal at this year’s deadline. Actually, more impact starters moved, depending on your definition of the word: Mike Clevinger, Caleb Smith, Mike Minor, Robbie Ray, Taijuan Walker…
MLB’s Mark Feinsand pointed out that zero top-100 prospects were traded Monday, and the only one on that list that changed zip codes this summer was Taylor Trammell, swapped from the dealing Padres to the always dealing Mariners.
With so many teams feeling like they have a legitimate shot at October (because they do), I think we all wondered if it would ramp up activity or tamp it down because it starved the market of sellers. I also wondered more than once: Are teams will to go “all-in” for a shot at a World Series that inarguably will mean less? And are there still lingering concerns that a season might not be completed as scheduled? COVID has altered so many perceptions and many more realities.
Were teams less willing to trade top prospects this year because of the implications mentioned above? Where teams more reserved in trading for prospects, when there’s no minor league season to observe development, and scouts aren’t allowed to check out the alternate sites housing typical trade candidates? And, importantly, were teams less interesting in taking on money in contracts for next year when you don’t know about ticket and beer sales? Ken Rosenthal brought up that last point during a terrific few hours on MLB Network on Monday, and the only bummer is that we probably won’t learn the full truth to any of the questions posed.
Some quick thoughts to close out, as this “thought” is getting a little long for a no-trades deadline day!
*I would have shot for reliever.
*I wouldn’t trade a top prospect for a year of a reliever.
*I wasn’t interested in trading Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, Royce Lewis or Jordan Balazovic.
*I’ll bet that short-term acquisitions were deemed less attractive to teams at the deadline.
*I’m surprised more readers didn’t ask if I thought it would make sense to add a super shortstop like Andrelton Simmons, move some parts around, and take your infield defense to the next level.
In the first 9 games post-deadline, the team is 7-2. So the record doesn't leave me pining for a trade.
The top 3 of the rotation are looking near playoff-ready with Pineda back in place and thriving, Berrios finding his groove, and Maeda continuing a great season. Between Dobnak, Hill, and (hopefully) Odorizzi, there is more than enough talent to fill out the rest of the rotation for the remainder of the season.
Early conclusion: No trade was needed.
Position players? Starling Marte was our dream addition. He's a truly excellent player, but Buxton has brought more back to the Twins than Marte has brought to the Marlins. Add in the return of Donaldson and this lineup has looked formidable again. Since the deadline passed the Team is batting .292/.354/.493
Early conclusion: No trade was needed.
Bullpen? Overall, the unit still looks good to me. The BP era is 2.97 since the deadline passed. That includes the one tremendous meltdown on Sept 6. Other than that one outing, they've been impeccable, posting a 1.03 era in all other games.
Is an upgrade necessary? I don't think so.
The team's performance has made the non-move approach look good so far.
That said, I'll repeat what I always say. I am biased against mid-season trades. Grateful to see this team have a chance to close thing thing out as designed.