Now that the MLB draft is complete and most of the draftees have signed, it is officially trade speculation season. As a first stab at what will surely be an active season of trade rumors and discussions, here is a look at some potential trading partners if the Twins decide to sell.
What the Twins can offer:
We can argue all day about who on the Twins should and shouldn't be traded, as well as what each player is worth in a trade. This will not be a discussion of trades with specific players, but rather a look at specific teams with needs that may match up well with what the Twins may have to offer. Regarding position players, there are three players that stand out as rumored trade chips.
This basically means the Twins can offer help at the outfield corners, first base, backup catcher and DH.
With pitchers, I would assume that the following players may be available.
- Mike Pelfrey, SP (4.20 FIP)
- Kevin Correia, SP (4.81)
- Brian Deunsing, RP (2.51)
- Casey Fien, RP (3.13)
- Jared Burton, RP (3.44)
Basically, this current Twins team can offer help to the back end of the rotation and in the bullpen, but not much else. Adding Glen Perkins to this list would add a Proven Closer to the trade chips, but I do not foresee him being traded.
On to the teams that have similar needs.
The Orioles are currently 42-31, in second place in the AL East, and just 1 game behind the Red Sox. They have managed this by relying on some fantastic individual performances from players like Chris Davis and Manny Machado. However, this is not a lineup without some holes. In particular, they have struggled to find good production from the DH and backup catcher positions. They have Matt Wieters as their main catcher, but the backups have combined for a total of 4 hits in 44 plate appearances this season. They have used a revolving door at the DH position (11 different players, including 49 PAs from Danny Valencia), but have only managed an OPS of .665 from the position.
On the pitching side, the Orioles have struggled to find decent starting pitching this season, as their starter's FIP is over half a run worse than the Twins' (5.08 to 4.57). Their best starter is Wei-Yin Chen, but he is currently on the DL. They have given 9 starts to Freddy Garcia. This is a rotation where Kevin Correia would currently be their second or third-best starter.
The Reds are 44-30, and are 3.5 games behind the Cardinals in the NL Central. They have had issues in LF, as Ryan Ludwig dislocated his shoulder on the first game of the season. His replacements have combined for an OPS of only .670. In addition, their catchers have combined for an OPS of .597. Ryan Hanigan has been the primary problem, as he has only managed to hit a Butera-esque.195/.286/.276 in 141 PAs.
On the pitching side, the Reds' bullpen has had some issues. Their overall stats are decent, but that is primarily due to Aroldis Chapman's excellence. Outside of him, they have had to give almost 100 innings to relief pitchers with FIPs over 4.00, and have combined for a WAR of -0.8.
San Diego Padres - The Padres have been playing surprisingly good baseball so far this year, in spite of one of the worst pitching staffs in the league - Jason Marquis has been one of their best starters. It is mostly disguised by the fact that they play half their games in Petco, but they may want to bring in some more arms if they decide to go for it this season.
New York Yankees - With Lyle Overbay (1B) and Vernon Wells (LF) turning back into pumpkins - and Kevin Youkilis, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson dealing with injuries - the Yankees may need reinforcements if they expect to stay in contention.
San Francisco Giants - The Giants' starters have been less than stellar, and their outfield depth has been challenged by injuries. Also, GM Brian Sabean loves bringing in veteran players.
Colorado Rockies - The other surprise contender in the NL West, the Rockies have managed to do with despite getting terrible production from 1B (OPS of just .687 IN COORS FIELD!!).
The potential for major suspensions due to the Biogenesis scandal may change certain teams' needs. For example, Nelson Cruz with Texas has been connected to the suspensions, so it may be that Texas will have more need for a corner outfielder than one may expect.
The Twins don't have any blue-chip assets to trade away this season, but they do have some very useful players that may be good fits for teams that are trying to shore up specific areas of weakness for a playoff push during the second half of this season.