Twins Trade Deadline Preview
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In a deal that sent Eduardo Nunez to San Francisco for Double-A left-handed starter Adalberto Mejia, the Twins made the first of hopefully many moves prior to the trade deadline on a new day this year August 1.
In the trade, the Twins got a solid minor league pitching prospect with upside of an above average fourth starter but who is not far away from making an impact in the bigs.
So where do they go from here? The Twins need to continue to blow it up from here and focus everything on building a young team. So outside of Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Max Kepler, and Jose Berrios who should the Twins trade? Everyone else with any semblance of value.
Some players don't have the value to be dealt. For example, Ricky Nolasco. You could deal him for a very low-return, but with his contract and how bad he has been that return wouldn't be worth the effort. At the very least he can eat innings while the young pitchers learn how to pitch in the majors.
With that in mind, the players the Twins should trade are as follows (in order of most value): Ervin Santana, Joe Mauer, Kyle Gibson, Brandon Kintzler, Fernando Abad, Kurt Suzuki, Brian Dozier, Trevor Plouffe.
The easiest guys that the Twins can deal will be Kintzler and Abad. With several contenders looking for bullpen help, one can never have too many bullpen arms, Kintzler and Abad would fill the role of late inning right handed and left handed relievers for a number of contenders. Kintzler at age 31 is having a breakout season, as the right handed Twins closer, as pitched to a 1.99 ERA with eight saves, and 20 strikeouts in 31.2 innings. Abad on the other hand doesn't have as low of an ERA as Kintzler but the left-hander has a very good ERA at 2.53 and for his career, left handed hitters are hitting only .246 against him and only .174 this season.
The most important player to trade is Ervin Santana. Santana is putting up another good season with an ERA and FIP below four, and in a market devoid of starting pitching the Twins could get a good return for him. This is especially true with the Padres getting the Marlins first rounder from last year in a deal for starter Andrew Cashner who is having a much worse season than Santana. Twins interim GM Rob Antony expressed that he is willing to deal Santana but won't openly shop him. I disagree with that assertion, but there is the chance that if someone Godfather offers Antony, that Santana will be on the move. However that offer may not be likely with the $28 million left on his contract over the next three years.
The hardest player to deal would be Joe Mauer. Mauer is obviously a fan favorite, being a Minnesota native, and winning an MVP, but at this point in his career, he isn't a building block anymore and it would be better for him, and the Twins, to deal him elsewhere while he still has some value. The hard part becomes where to send him as all contending teams have first baseman/Designated Hitters.
The next three, Brian Dozier, Kurt Suzuki and Trevor Plouffe. Specifically Dozier and Suzuki could bring the Twins good value as both would provide a contending team with either a solid starting or above average backup catcher, and in Dozier would give a team a power bat of the bench and could start on a contending team. Plouffe just needs to go period but his value is the lowest of any player listed.
The Twins aren't going anywhere this season. With the team currently constructed they won't go anywhere the next couple unless Buxton finally lives to his potential and Sano makes steps, and Kepler figures out how to hit with a higher average. Even then, the Twins are still short on pitching and the best way to get more pitching prospects and hope that one or two of them hit would be to trade everyone of value and hope that some diamonds are found.