Charley Walters Pleads for Twins to Save Former Gopher Max Meyer from Marlins

Max Meyer, Minnesota Twins
Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into the season, much of the concerns surrounding the Minnesota Twins focused on the pitching staff after seeing Sonny Gray ditch town. The Twins largely stood pat, opting against a splashy replacement, but could former Gophers pitcher (and Woodbury, MN native) Max Meyer be a solution?

Once selected in the 34th round of the 2017 MLB Draft, Meyer opted to attend the U of M, after dominating the pitching mounds at Woodbury High School. Meyer’s decision paid off in a big way, where he’d later become a first-round pick, selected third overall by the Miami Marlins in 2020.

Max Meyer’s HOT start gets him sent down by Miami Marlins

Predictably, the highest draft pick in Gophers baseball history (tied with Paul Molitor) has quickly risen up the ranks in Miami’s minor leagues, even after dealing with Tommy John surgery sidelining him for a full season after making his 2022 MLB debut. Now 25, Meyer started this season in the big leagues, where he immediately started mowing down the best hitters in the world.

In 17 innings, Meyer held opposing hitters to a puny .180 average. He struckout 14 and boasted an impressive 2.12 ERA. Unfortunately, that didn’t prevent the Marlins from demoting Meyer down to Triple-A last week.

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Keep in mind, this is a terrible Marlins team that is just 6-17 this year, with even Luis Arraez hitting a pedestrian (for him) .277 on the season. Demoting Meyer when he was in the zone, with the best ERA+ among Marlins pitchers with multiple starts, doesn’t makes sense, except for on reason. Service time.

Could Minnesota Twins step in and save Max Meyer?

With the Marlins headed nowhere fast, and the Twins still having a need for pitching, former Minnesota Twins pitcher, turned longtime local insider and columnist, (and former Gopher) Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press is calling for his former ballclub to trade for Meyer, his fellow U of M alum.

“If he didn’t already know how cold a business major league baseball can be, former Gopher Max Meyer from Woodbury last week found out when the Miami Marlins, for which Meyer had pitched two of their three victories, dispatched him to Triple-A Jacksonville in order to slow his free agency by a year. The demotion was blatantly unfair for the 25-year-old right-hander, for whom the faltering Twins should be in hot pursuit of a trade.”

Charley Walters – Pioneer Press

On the surface, trading for Meyer seems like a genius idea for the Twins. But if you’re the Marlins, why trade who ranks as the third-best prospect in the organization before he can even have a chance to reach his potential?

Sure, the Marlins typically don’t hand out massive contracts, but Meyer won’t hit free agency until 2029, and Miami surely values the ‘cheap’ production they can get out of the hard-throwing righty.

Meyer may not like being back in the minors, after showing he’s capable of performing at a high level in the MLB, but that’s often the life of even the best baseball prospects.

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Top prospects are held back for ‘service time’ purposes every season, allowing organizations to have club control for an extra year of a player’s prime, before they are allowed to test free agency. But Max Meyer pitching in the minors isn’t just stunting his growth, it’s bad for the psyches of minor league players across the country.

And who knows, maybe Shooter is conveying, not his own frustration with Max’s situation, but frustration that’s being pushed on him from people inside of Meyer’s camp. The Marlins may not want to trade him, but they’d be more apt to trade him if he’s openly disgruntled.

Any potential trade would forced the Twins to part with some of their top prospects and or key veterans such as Max Kepler, but securing a Minnesota native in Meyer may be worth it in the long run. But first, the Marlins would have to be willing to listen.

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