Starting Pitchers the Twins Can Trade for at the Deadline
Let’s be honest, the Minnesota Twins need some help if they are going to win the World Series this year. Although they are 17-9 (a 105-win pace in a 162-game season) and leading the AL Central, there are still areas to improve.
With offense down across the league and the Twins starting pitching rotation a relative mess, there are plenty of moves to make. The August 31st trade deadline is less than 10 days away. So who should the Twins try and pickup?
Some may see the decreased offensive numbers and think a bat would be great, but this team is still one of the best offenses in the league. This means a pitcher would be the most logical option. Because pitching wins championships and the Twins are in desperate need of a true bonafide ace to get them there. Some may think Berrios is that ace, especially after a great outing against the Brewers. But one start is a long ways from being a true ace.
Yet this exercise is going to be based solely on who the Twins could try to acquire. What they would have to give up will come in a later trade-bait piece.
Trevor Bauer, RHP, Cincinnati Reds
Although it would take an absolute haul to get him, Bauer would fit right in with the Twins and their fanbase. Often outspoken on player issues and a goofball in his own right, Bauer is the real deal on the mound. Through the first 20+ games of 2020 he has been one of the premier pitchers in the league. He leads all of MLB with an absurd 0.68 ERA while also holding a 0.57 WHIP and 14.01 K/9.
In addition to his crazy stats, Bauer is also a pending free agent after the season. Meaning he would likely only be a rental to get a ring unless both sides agree he is the right fit long term. He will command a hefty price tag, but the Pohlads seem to have turned a corner in terms of spending. Especially after signing Josh Donaldson to a four-year $92 million deal this past offseason.
On top of all that, his goofball antics would make the team that much more fun to follow and watch. He is what you want in a ballplayer. Someone who speaks their mind and stands by what they believe in. FREE JOE KELLY, DAMNIT!
Trevor Bauer wanted to wear these custom “FREE JOE KELLY” cleats during his start today.— ESPN (@espn) August 20, 2020
He was told by MLB he could be subject to discipline and removal from a game if he chose to wear them, Bauer told @JeffPassan.
➡️ https://t.co/5FUr76IRcc pic.twitter.com/67W4HXnLUg
Lance Lynn, RHP, Texas Rangers
Does this name sound familiar? It should if you are a hardcore Twins fan as Lynn was a member of an awful team in 2018. He went 7-8 in 20 starts while having a 5.10 ERA and 1.63 WHIP. Yet the tides have seemed to change for Lynn as he has become a premier pitcher for the Texas Rangers. With a 0.74 WHIP and 1.11 ERA, he has become one of the hottest commodities for the upcoming trade deadline.
His contract is also reasonable for a pitcher of his caliber. He is scheduled to make $10 million in 2020 and 2021. We have seen the Twins throw more money at lesser pitchers (Ervin Santana anyone?). That makes this a potential match made in heaven. He may not be the big name starter anticipated, but if his recent performances are any indicator, Lynn could give the Twins a real chance at winning it all in 2020.
Dylan Bundy, RHP, Los Angeles Angels
Although it is just his first year in the City of Angels, Bundy has made a name for himself as a potential trade deadline target. Currently holding a 2.48 ERA, 10.47 K/9, and a much improved pitch mix including his slider and four-seamer, Bundy is someone the Twins should have on their board.
On top of that, he comes cheap. Making a mere $1.85 million this year with one more year before arbitration. Oh, and he is only 27 meaning he is hitting his prime and could be a longer term option in the rotation. That is if the Twins want a dynasty. It may require a haul of prospects or current rostered players to bring him to Minnesota, but if it isn’t sacrificing too much that may be worth it.
Matthew Boyd, LHP, Detroit Tigers
The Tigers in the midst of a massive transition. After losing an abhorrent 114 games in 2019, the rebuild was in full effect. Yet even if they are in rebuild mode, they are still in the AL Central and competitors with the Twins. So this trade would likely take a good amount of prospects to make work.
Even if that is the case, Boyd may be worth it. He had an abysmal second half to 2019 (6.46 ERA) and start to 2020 (9.64 ERA). The Twins have pitching coach Wes Johnson though, a coach who seems to be a guru at getting the best out of his pitchers when the team needs them most. Boyd also has a friendly contract. He makes only $5.3 million in 2020 and not arbitration eligible until 2021. Even if he didn’t make an immediate impact, the team could win their arbitration hearing with him and continue to tweak his performance.
Kevin Gausman, RHP, San Francisco Giants
A pending free agent, Gausman may be another rental if acquired in 2020. Although he struggled as a starter in 2019, his 2020 suggests he has put in the time to become a solidified starter. He has seen a hefty jump in four-seamer velocity from 93.9 to 95.3 mph and an increase in whiff rate from 21.8% to 24.3%. Those jumps surrounded by a potent offense and Wes Johnson’s tutelage could make him an intriguing pickup for the Twins.
Kevin Gausman, Wiffle ball stuff. ?— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 16, 2020
10Ks thru 5. pic.twitter.com/cMiSNrCmVZ
Who Do the Twins Give Up?
As mentioned, it all depends on who the team is trading for in the long-run. There are plenty of pieces the Twins could try to move to acquire what they think is the final piece to get to the promised land. Yet that is a blog for another day…
Whatever happens, the Twins still need help in the rotation. Expect them to be actively pushing offers in the coming week. If not, grab your torches and pitchforks and have fun storming the castle.
Jack Kewitsch | Minnesota Sports Fan