This one's been coming for the last two days.
Dejan Kovajevic of the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette (and Twitter) has reported that the San Francisco Giants have acquired second baseman Freddy Sanchez from the Pirates, in return for double-A pitcher Tim Alderson. A scouting report on Alderson, and a decision on whether the Twins could have outbid Frisco, after the jump.
Alderson, a 20-year old right-hander, was the Giants' first-round pick in 2007. 26 starts last season at high-A San Jose netted him 145 innings and a 13-4 record, striking out 124, walking 34, and giving up a stingy four home runs. Five starts at the same place this spring earned him a promotion to double-A Connecticut, where in 13 starts and 72.2 innings he's compiled a 3.47 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. The gopherballs aren't quite as rare, but rare nevertheless, and it's hard to say that the Giants got the better of this deal.
There isn't much doubt that Alderson could be debuting for the Pirates by the time he's 22. He was rated to have the best curveball in the San Francisco farm system, offers a low-90's fastball and a changeup.
Could the Twins have bested this offer?
It's hard to say. They certainly could have made it a bigger package with two or three prospects instead of just one, but if Pittsburgh wanted a minor league arm who's the closest thing there is to a sure thing, then the only pitcher I could come up with from the Twins' farm system would be Tyler Robertson.
Robertson is a 21-year old southpaw sitting in Fort Myers, a level he did well in last year but needed to revisit this summer due to arm problems last season. His stuff isn't as universally sexy as Alderson's, with an upper-80's fastball with life, wobbly control and an unorthodox delivery, but he had been putting up some good numbers in the lower echelons of the system.
Ultimately, if it's about a one-pitcher deal, no, the Twins could not have matched the Giants' offer. I have to believe the Twins countered with a multi-prospect deal, although none including players like Ben Revere, Aaron Hicks or Daniel Valencia, and that ultimately the Pirates simply wanted the one best player they could get. And that's Alderson.
Congratulations to the Giants. Now let's hope our own front office can kick in with a good backup plan.