When it comes to rumors in baseball around trade deadline season, there's not always fire when there's smoke. Over the last couple of weeks there's been a little bit of steam building up around the idea of Carlos Gomez returning to the Minnesota Twins. In part this came as the result of confirmation from Mike Berardino that Terry Ryan had been in touch with Doug Melvin, but that appeared to be more related to bullpen help than discussions around bringing back another familiar face.
Going back to late June, Jon Heyman proposed a trade that would send Gomez to the Twins should Buxton not "prove to be ready quite yet." Circumstances have obviously changed since the suggestion was made, but on Friday Heyman noted that the Brewers would make Gomez available, saying in part:
The Brewers are willing to trade not only star center fielder Carlos Gomez but even young shortstop Jean Segura, according to one person familiar with their thinking, who suggested it's somewhat likely they move both players.
On Friday at MLB Daily Dish, Chris Cotillo held a live Q&A where he fielded questions about all kinds of teams, players, and rumors. I approached him twice, in the first instance making a very general query. His response prompted me to be a bit more specific in a second question. I've edited both questions and answers together for convenience:
Cotillo's theory of optioning Buxton back to Triple-A goes against everything we've believed the Twins front office to be working towards over the last three or four years, but he's correct. Teams sometimes make difficult decisions when looking for short-term gains that could push them into October.
There's been very little to confirm whether or not the Twins are actually interested in Gomez, however. The closest we've gotten is an unknown "Twins-connected person" not agreeing that Minnesota "absolutely wouldn't bring him back." That's a long way from saying that the Twins are interested in acquiring him, much less that they're actively doing so. Cotillo has his pulse on the ebbs and tides of the industry as much as anyone, but unless you put a good deal of stock in the sixth sense of league undercurrents that is held by folks like Heyman and Cotillo, there isn't much to go on here.
Gomez would be an upgrade for the Twins, even at the .268/.329/.440 clip he's sporting this year. Whether he would end up playing center field or not in Minnesota is almost a moot issue at this point, but he'd make the club better on that end of the ball as well. He's under contract through 2016, and so the purchasing team would be on the hook for the remaining portion of his $8 million salary this season as well as his $9 million next year. While under most circumstances that wouldn't be a bad thing the Twins clearly have depth at the position. Buxton, Eddie Rosario, Oswaldo Arcia, Aaron Hicks, Max Kepler, and perhaps even Torii Hunter, depending on how things shake down, are in the fold for 2016. Whose future do you shift in an attempt to cash in on Gomez's present?
Reading tea leaves on all but non-existent rumor can only get us so far. We'll see whether anything more comes of this in the next 11 days, but right now it doesn't look like this one has legs.
- A.J. Pierzynski doesn't look like an option at catcher, at least while Atlanta doesn't have another reliable in-house option while they consider themselves in the race.
- As Mike Berardino notes, the Twins had interest in Dioner Navarro the same off-season as they had interest in Pierzynski. Navarro isn't having a very good season, but he'd at least give the Twins a pair of veterans behind the plate - each of whom would be capable of being the starter if things went south for the other. How much better than would make the Twins than having Eric Fryer or Chris Herrmann as the backup is almost negligible, but players obviously have faith in veteran players.
- The Twins were tied to Joaquin Benoit in the last couple of weeks, but the fires have been silent on that front.
- Ben Revere knows he could be traded in the next few days. If the Twins are into bringing back familiar faces in the outfield, and considering Hunter's return and the smoke on Gomez we can assume they like the idea of getting the band back together, Revere could be had for far less than the Phillies bought him for. He's batting .297 with a .336 on-base percentage, both of which are better than any Twins outfielder who has put in time for the big league club this year.
- Jonathan Papelbon still hasn't been traded, but it has to happen soon. If he wants to play for a contender and would accept a set-up role, Minnesota would be a good fit. But I doubt that he'd accept anything other than a closer's duties, and I'm not sure his personality is conducive to playing second fiddle to a superior Glen Perkins anyway.
- Troy Tulowitzki is an unrealistic trade target and is so far outside of how the Twins operate that I'm not sure it's worth wasting additional words on the topic.
- In July for the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings, Oswaldo Arcia is batting .322/.403/.780 with eight home runs in 16 games, along with six walks and 20 strikeouts. If Minnesota wants a potential slugger in the middle of their lineup, they could call up this guy as soon as today.