#AskBW (7/20): Trade Deadline Bonanza, Batting Gloves and Cryptic Tweets

(image credit: Brian Curski, Cumulus Media)

I don’t like awkward introductions. Let’s just dive right in.


Let’s say I put my Twins fan cap back on for a second. Realistically, I think Will Smith is going to be the best reliever traded at the deadline, and Marcus Stroman perhaps the best starting pitcher. If you want to shoot for the sky, that would be the way to go.

But unrealistically? Why not shoot for the downs and trade for Noah Syndergaard? Sure, he’s having a bit of a down year — 4.36 ERA, 3.67 FIP — but even still, he brings an element that this rotation currently doesn’t have: pure, unadulterated heat in addition to nasty overall stuff.

Jul 13, 2019; Miami, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) delivers a pitch in the second inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Jose Berrios has one of the best curveballs in the American League. Martin Perez and Kyle Gibson can touch 95-96 mph on a good day. Syndergaard, on the other hand, routinely sits at 98-99 mph and every pitch he throws but his sinker — four-seam fastball, changeup, slider and curve — all have double-digit swinging-strike rates. For a point of reference, 10 percent is a good bet for roughly average — though breaking balls and offspeed pitches will skew a little higher in general and fastballs will skew lower.

In short, Syndergaard is probably one of the five-ish best pitchers in baseball — and perhaps the most physically talented — and with two more years of control after this one, should be considered the prize of the trade deadline if for any reason the Mets consider moving him.

But I’d put those odds at about .00001 percent.

We’ve been talking about that on the Midwest Swing podcast the last few times out — like on this recent episode — and we’ve come to the conclusion that there isn’t really a good answer, but it’s probably Martin Perez.

The rationale was that Jake Odorizzi, Gibson and Berrios are obviously safe, and Michael Pineda has pitched better than Perez of late.

But that means an addition has to clearly be better than one of those two, and it’s not like either of them are having disastrous seasons.

But it’s also why I think the Twins will want to target a pitcher with more than just the rest of this season of club control — i.e. not Madison Bumgarner, but more like Stroman or Matt Boyd.

The problem, however, is that Perez is one of just two pitchers in the current rotation who are under club control next season, so is it worth taking him out of the rotation only to have to re-insert him there next year?

True enough, Perez would probably be the one who would see his stuff tick up more than Pineda — who as an impending free agent likely would not be thrilled at the prospect of getting pulled from the rotation anyway — so it would probably be him if it comes to that.

But these things always seem to have a way of working themselves out.

Personally? I don’t know for sure, at least not until it actually happens. But it’s clear at this point that the Twins need to address the bullpen. I don’t think it’s coincidental that Rocco Baldelli has been going with longer stints for Taylor Rogers since the All-Star break. That, combined with the turnover in the bullpen — most notably the DFAs of Mike Morin, Adalberto Mejia and Matt Magill as well as the recent ineffectiveness of Trevor May — has left Baldelli with precious few options he seems to trust out there late in games right now.

So will I skewer them if they don’t make any additions to the bullpen? I think that’s probably a fair word to use.

But I can’t imagine it coming to that. It’s a seller’s market with more teams looking for help than there are quality relievers available, but I expect the Twins to search high and low and leave no stone unturned in their search for reliable middle inning help — if not guys to work the late innings.

So I enlisted the help of former pro ballplayer Cody Decker — you might recall that he recently hit a walk-off homer for the Reno Aces and then retired after the game — and he gave me some interesting answers for this question.

Decker said it depended on where he was playing how long gloves would hold up. In high humidity, he could go through two pairs a week. In dry climate, a pair might last two weeks.

It also depended on what brand he used how quickly they’d break down. He said Franklin gloves broke down more quickly than Eastons. When he was done with them, he’d either repurpose them as gloves to use in the batting cage, or give them away to fans if he had the chance.

Hope this helps.

By the way, if you aren’t following Cody on Twitter — follow here — you’re missing out. He’s a tremendous dude.

Take whatever you think is “too much” and add some more. Seriously.

A realistic offer is probably one of Alex Kirilloff and Royce Lewis, one of Brusdar Graterol or Jordan Balazovic and probably two more prospects of the Mets’ choosing, and I think even that is still probably too light.

It might take three of those four guys plus whatever other top-level prospect the Mets value most highly, like Wander Javier, Jhoan Duran, Brent Rooker or Blayne Enlow. Further complicating things is that a lot of Twins prospects have dealt with injuries this season, like Stephen Gonsalves, Graterol, Akil Baddoo and Luke Raley.

It would be hard to make the deal happen, for sure.

This is totally spitballing, and I’d really prefer not to name specific names to speculate who might be available — as opposed to creating hypothetical trade packages out of thin air, because I think there’s a slight difference — but take a look at this list and I’d go with anyone at No. 5 or lower. I really think they could consider moving Trevor Larnach, but with the speed with which he’s progressed through the system, it’d really have to be a really, really good return.

Yeah, this tweet really happened. It was especially puzzling at the time, but I’ve heard through secondhand chatter that it was mostly a misunderstanding that Mike Morin had been DFA’d, and thus would have been lost for nothing if he hadn’t been traded.

It’s also possible that it was a bit lost in translation, since English is Berrios’ second language. Right now it doesn’t appear there’s any issue, though if that changes we’ll be sure to let you know.

I think so. Cleveland has needed to be red-hot just to get here, and they’ve played an especially weak schedule of late. Things heat up for them in August when the Twins get an easier go of it, and both teams will be tested not only by other teams, but each other with a few head-to-head matchups over the final two months of the season.

As of this second, I still really like their chances to win the division. Beyond that is anyone’s guess. Like they say, once you’re in the tournament, anything can happen.


From Devlin Clark: Which duo would you rather the Twins acquire: Stroman/Giles, MadBum/Smith or Greene/Boyd? Why?

It’s close. Bumgarner and Smith is third for me because neither is under club control after this season. I had previously been operating under the assumption that Shane Greene was a free agent at the end of this season, but I checked again on Saturday and it turns out he’s under club control for next season, too.

Jul 4, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Shane Greene (61) gestures towards first base after throwing to first base to force out Chicago White Sox left fielder Eloy Jimenez (not pictured) for the final out of the game at Guaranteed Rate Field. The Detroit Tigers won 11-5. Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

So with Boyd and Greene under control for three-plus and one-plus years, respectively, I think that’s my choice over Stroman (one-plus) and Ken Giles (one-plus).

From a pure talent standpoint, you could argue that Toronto’s pair is slightly better — Giles is having a more dominant year than Greene and Stroman has a longer track record than Boyd — but from a “maximizing your potential return” standpoint, I think I’d have to favor the Tigers here.

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