It’s been a whirlwind week for us Twins fans and now the dust has finally settled. Brian Dozier and Ervin Santana are still with the team. John Ryan Murphy, Brandon Kintzler, Nick Tepesch, and Justin Haley are not, and Jaime Garcia was a Twin for all of six days and one start. In exchange, the Twins acquired four minor league pitchers.
I agree, it sucks that the Twins were in the playoff race for the entire first half of the season and they appeared to be buyers just a week ago when they acquired Garcia, only to do a 180 within a week and sell off some assets. However, we knew this was a flawed roster from the start. The pitching has never been good, and even with the addition of Garcia, it still wasn’t good. The Twins had to do a lot more buying than they did, and that would have involved mortgaging the future.
Instead of buying to fix the problem this year, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine looked for next year’s solutions. Following the (first) Garcia trade—which only cost the Twins Huascar Ynoa, a middling Single-A pitcher—the Twins sent out John Ryan Murphy for Double-A lefty Gabriel Moya. Though his stuff doesn’t match the numbers, Moya’s nonetheless been utterly dominant throughout his minor league career, and sure looks like he could be at worst an adequate piece in next year’s bullpen.
Then the Twins completed the second Garcia trade in which they acquired Dietrich Enns and Zack Littell—two minor league starting pitchers. This right here cannot be emphasized enough. Though it’s likely that the circumstances of going from buying to selling in just a week necessitated this move, I feel we must commend Falvey and Levine for their creativity regarding the flipping of Garcia. They acquired him and to minimize the return going to Atlanta, they offered to take on Garcia’s entire salary. Then, in shipping him to New York, they again offered to continue paying Garcia’s salary. In doing so, they were able to get two pitchers that not only were much better numbers-wise than the pitcher they had sent to Atlanta (Ynoa), but also were closer to the major leagues. It was a swap that would make the co-hosts of HGTV’s “Flip or Flop” proud.
Finally, the Twins sent Brandon Kintzler to the Nationals yesterday in exchange for minor leaguer Tyler Watson, a starting pitcher in Single-A. While Watson’s ERA hasn’t been great, his secondary numbers have indicated that he’s a better pitcher than the results have shown.
All together, everyone but Watson has a shot of debuting either later this year or sometime next season, while Moya is the only pitcher that doesn’t profile as being a starting pitcher. Falvey and Levine addressed the organization’s pitching problems cheaply and still could make some more moves before the August 31st waiver trade deadline. I’m seeing rumors that the next plan is to have Matt Belisle close some games in an attempt to flip him as well, a good plan since he has been a much better pitcher over the past month and a half. Ervin Santana and BrianDozier are still trade possibilities, and I’d also like to see Falvey and Levine acquire more international bonus pool money (CC: Baltimore Orioles, since they’ve been practically giving theirs away) to help sign more international prospects.
Overall, the front office didn’t swindle anyone and they didn’t make any jaw-dropping trades, but they did work on tackling one of the organization’s weaknesses (pitching) and they have improved the Twins for next year without suffering any major losses to the roster. In a more succinct way than myjah’s figure skating grading scale [Editor’s note: You beat me by 77 words. Kudos.], I’m satisfied and pleased with what the Twins did and I’d give them a B for their work.
For fans that are dissatisfied though, this is building for next year, not “three to five years from now.” The playoff window is open just a crack; these moves were made to keep that window propped once it’s fully ajar.