Now, to be clear: This plan is designed to make the Twins credible playoff contenders, not World Series favorites. I’m not of the opinion that they should go “all in” and trade premium future capital for a short-term push because I don’t think they’re at a point in overall team quality where that makes sense to significantly sacrifice the future.
That said, it’s not guaranteed that opportunities like this will come around often, and when you find yourself in this position, you have to take a chance. I think these moves would help the Twins address their core weaknesses in a meaningful way and set themselves up for playoff success without selling the farm.
Here are five completely speculative ideas for hypothetical trades:
Acquire SP Noah Syndergaard from Angels for INF Keoni Cavaco and LHP Devin Smeltzer
I’ll be honest: I have no idea what it will take to get Syndergaard. He’ll have a market, that’s for sure, but he’s nowhere near the top of the value chart among available starters. After signing a one-year, $21 million deal with the Angels in the offseason, he owes about $7 million in the past two months and a free agent pending.
Syndergaard has been solid this season, but nowhere near his pre-electric surgery standard. His speed hasn’t fully returned since Tommy John’s surgery in 2020 and his strikeouts are down. In some ways, you’re betting on him by clicking the stretch, much like Justin Verlander did in 2017.
Is it likely? No, especially to this extent. But even if he stays the current course, Syndergaard is a solid pitcher — a marked improvement over anyone in the Twins rotation not named Gray or Ryan — and a respectable playoff option. And the cost can’t be so high.
Like I said, I have no idea what a realistic return for Syndergaard looks like, but the one suggested above sounds plausible. The Angels reclaim the 2019 No. 13 draft pick in Cavaco, who struggled early in the minors but is still just 21 and showing signs of breaking through at Single-A. The Angels are likely familiar with the SoCal native and former prep star. Smeltzer adds some floor to the cap-focused deal for LA — a solid MLB starter or swing man with three years of team control remaining.
If this package turns out to be too light, I’m ok with dropping some more. I really want Syndergaard over the Twins, and this looks like a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make that happen.
Acquire RP Daniel Bard from the Rockies for LHP Cade Povich
David Robertson is the biggest prize among on-time relief hires, and that means someone will have to pay grossly too much for him. That could also be true for Bard, who is probably the closest second-best among impending free agents, but less so. As great as he was in the first half for Colorado, Bard can’t escape the shadow of his record, which includes a seven-year hiatus from the majors after getting the yips in his late 20s. and lost the strike zone.
That story is out of sight, with Bard once again dominating this year behind a triple-digit heat…but it’s not out of place. Last year, he posted a 5.21 ERA out of the Rockies bullpen with the same top-notch fastball bike. It is the definition of a volatile asset. And ditch Povich — a third-rounder in last year’s draft, averaging 12.1 K/9 High-A ball and Twins Daily’s No. 10-ranked prospect in the organization — for a short asset. this volatile term is a hard pill to swallow. But with competition for rear bullpen arms, it may take something like this.
It’s worth getting the high-impact end-of-round weapon the Twins need to protect and complement Jhoan Duran. But I don’t stop there.
Acquire RP Matt Moore from Rangers for INF Edouard Julien and RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long
Rangers struck gold on their spring signing of Moore to a minor league contract, seeing him flourish in a full-time relief role with a 1.61 ERA, 2.57 FIP and a rate of 10.1 K/9 in 44 ⅔ innings across 33 appearances.
Much like with Bard, the Twins would buy high on an impending free agent veteran with a wobbly record, but as with this case, the metrics fully confirm his excellence thus far. Southpaw Moore has been extremely efficient and could bring some much-needed length to a heavily relied on bullpen. Moore has recorded more than three outs in more than half of his appearances for Texas (17), including two complete innings in 13 of them.
Both Julien and Gipson-Long are intriguing players with strong seasons in the 15-20 range of Minnesota’s top prospect list. Rangers would probably be very happy to get that kind of future capital in return for a flyer they snagged on a minor league deal.
Acquire LHP Rich Hill from the Red Sox for 1B Miguel Sano
Alright, I’m trying to think creatively with this shot in the dark. The Twins are clearly ready to leave Sano, so I tried to come up with a scenario where trading him could be remotely plausible. I don’t see anyone giving up a prospect for him, but it feels like a kind of “why not” for both parties.
The Red Sox in free fall – now in last place! – are longshots to make the playoffs. They need a huge spark to run and defeat the many other wild card contenders in the American League. They won’t get that from Hill, a rotational starter who is currently recovering from a knee injury and is expected to return in early August. But let’s say Sano hits a few home runs over the next week and inspires a little belief that he could come in and hit the ball on the green monster for a few months. The Twins are paying off half of Sano’s remaining roughly $5 million commitment, so the money is basically a wash.
Hill isn’t an ace that’s going to overturn staff fortunes or anything, but he could be useful for the Twins over time and in the playoffs. He’s thrown reasonably well this year (102 ERA+, 1.29 WHIP in 70.2 IP) and has a familiarity here since the 2020 season. The 42-year-old would likely relish the opportunity to move on to a more legitimate contender for what could be his last chance for a championship.
Acquire C Kurt Suzuki, Tucker Barnhart, Austin Hedges or whatever for PTBNL
The Twins need a reliable veteran receiver to close the gap until Ryan Jeffers returns. The above are examples of no-hitter guys, first gloves who are impending free agents on teams that aren’t going anywhere. They’ll be available without consequence, so I don’t even feel the need to speculate on a return, but it’s definitely something they need to do.
The final result
By executing the above plan, the Twins would meet three key needs – rotation, bullpen and reserve receiver – without giving up any truly much-needed prospects, even if they would part ways with a slew of good guys. young talents.
Syndergaard joins Gray and Ryan at the top of the rotation to form a viable playoff core. Hill could be part of that picture if he throws well, otherwise he just provides a few innings over time. Bard and Moore significantly power the bullpen, pushing Griffin Jax and Caleb Thielbar into seventh-inning roles, and the rest of the dodgy (Tyler Duffey, Emilio Pagan, Joe Smith, etc.) into mid-to-low effect relief from leverage or maybe even DFAs.
You can quibble about the specifics, but the general idea is that the Twins avoid giving up critical assets by aiming lower than the best names in the market (but not much lower) and not targeting extra years of control. of team. For me, this is the perfect timeframe approach.
What do you think of this plan? Are the prices I quoted too low? Too steep? What would you do? Sound off in the comments!