Twins

3 Trade Proposals That Would Land the Twins A Frontline Starter

Photo Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

After Nathan Eovaldi agreed to a multi-year deal with the Texas Rangers, it became official that the Minnesota Twins would have to look to the trade market to add a playoff-caliber starting pitcher. Sure, they could still make a free agent signing that improves the back end of the rotation, but that does little to raise the ceiling of a team that is desperate for upside.

Finding a frontline starting pitcher another team would be willing to part with is no easy task. But the Twins need a lift, and they have some interesting trade assets that other clubs may want. Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle, and Joe Ryan offer solid mid-rotation expectations, but it would be hard to call any of the three surefire aces. If the Twins want to get one of those highly sought-after commodities, they’ll have to pay a pretty penny. Here are three deals that could work for both sides.

Tampa Bay Rays trade RHP Tyler Glasnow for OF Max Kepler, RHP Bailey Ober, and RHP Simeon Woods Richardson

As many clubs have discovered over the years, trading with the Rays can be pretty dangerous. Their transactions often feel level at the time but almost always end up playing out in Tampa Bay’s favor when all is said and done. Glasnow’s arrival in central Florida is a great example. The Pittsburgh Pirates included him as part of their package for Chris Archer – a deal that has become one of the game’s most lopsided trades in recent memory.

Glasnow offers frontline starter expectations if he can stay healthy. He made his long-awaited return to the big league hill last year after a grueling 14-month recovery from Tommy John surgery. Steamer projects the tall righty to throw 111 innings in 2023 with a 3.20 ERA and a dazzling 11.5 K/9. That would be a welcome sight for a Twins rotation that ranked 23rd in baseball with just a 7.6 K/9.

It would cost the Twins a superfluous veteran outfielder in Kepler, who is a near-certainty to be dealt at this point. He still holds value based on his stellar outfield defense and two years of affordable team control. The package includes two other higher-upside assets in Ober and Woods Richardson. The Rays have a penchant for acquiring and developing more pitchers than any other organization in baseball. This return offers at least 11 years of combined team control on two arms who are already prepared to step into a big league rotation, or at least close to that point.

Los Angeles Dodgers trade RHP Dustin May for IF Jose Miranda, OF Matt Wallner, and RHP Jordan Balazovic

This one is a whopper. May is one of the most tantalizing young arms in baseball, and he comes with three years of club control through arbitration. That ain’t going to be cheap. Not only is he 25 years old and on the cusp of entering the prime of his career, but he’s already shown that he possesses swing-and-miss stuff at the MLB level. Steamer projects him to have a 3.66 ERA across 121 innings pitched with a stellar 3.4 K/BB ratio. With an average fastball velocity over 98 MPH (even after Tommy John surgery), it’s easy to see May fronting a rotation for years to come.

That would come at the expense of two of Minnesota’s purest power hitters in their organization. Miranda made his debut in 2022 and cemented himself as a middle-of-the-order-type bat who may have trouble finding a defensive home. The Twins have him penciled in as their opening-day third baseman, so they’d have to find a contingency plan. That would probably have to come from the picked-over free-agent market. Prospects like Austin Martin, Edouard Julien, and Brooks Lee will start the year in the minor leagues. But implementing a placeholder third baseman would be digestible as long as it brings in an ace-level starting pitcher.

Minnesota would also be giving up a local product with a big bat in Wallner. He made his big league debut in 2022, but the Forest Lake native finds himself looking in on the outside as the opening-day roster takes shape. The plethora of left-handed sluggers makes him somewhat expendable. Balazovic is just a supplementary piece in the deal after a couple of challenging seasons in the upper levels of the minor leagues. The hope is that a healthy, fresh start to a season can get him back on track as a promising pitching prospect, but the jury is still out on the young southpaw.

New York Yankees trade RHP Frankie Montas and IF Gleyber Torres for Kepler, IF Edouard Julien and RHP David Festa

This trade finally answers the question that Twins fans have been asking for the better part of two years. Finally, here’s Frankie. He was a deadline acquisition by the Yankees at last year’s deadline, and he struggled down the stretch with his new club. A return to a small- to mid-market team rather than the bright light of the Big Apple could benefit the righty. He had a brutal 6.35 ERA with New York after a solid 3.18 ERA effort in Oakland. The deal also includes Torres, who only played six games at shortstop in 2022 but could be worth another look there as a stopgap until Royce Lewis is ready to take over. Regardless of his defensive home, Torres’ bat still held its own in 2022, where he slashed .257/.310/.451 (115 wRC+) with 24 home runs.

The Twins would give up Kepler, who has long been a known Yankees target. They’d also give up Julien, whose prospect star truly started to shine in 2022, capped off by a fantastic effort in the Arizona Fall League, where he slashed .400/.563/.686 in 21 games played. Festa is a little further down the line but offers high upside after pitching to the tune of a 2.71 ERA in 16 appearances (13 starts) at High-A.

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