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Looking back: 2018 deadline trades

How did the front office do on these trades?

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Toronto Blue Jays Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Hey everyone! The Twins have won six in a row and just swept their seventh series of the year so I decided to talk about 2018 (sorry). I will be exploring, breaking down and grading the trades made by the Twins during the disappointing 2018 season. The trades included in this post will be:

  • Brian Dozier to Dodgers for Logan Forsythe, Luke Raley and Devin Smeltzer
  • Eduardo Escobar to Diamondbacks for Jhoan Duran, Ernie De La Trinidad and Gabriel Maciel
  • Ryan Pressly to Astros for Jorge Alcala and Gilberto Celestino
  • Lance Lynn to Yankees for Tyler Austin and Luis Rijo

Brian Dozier trade: The Twins traded Dozier at the right time. Ever since being traded he has not seen nearly the same success he saw with the Twins for many years. The Twins were able to nab two solid prospects with Raley (outfield/1B) and Smeltzer (starting pitcher). Raley recently ended up on the IL and will be sidelined for about 3-4 months but Smeltzer is seeing great success to start 2019.

Brian Dozier since trade: .192/.300/.352 (.652), 79 wRC+, 23.5 K%, 12 HR, 33 RBIs.

Luke Raley (AAA) 2019: #26 prospect, .302/.362/.516, 121 wRC+, 30.4 K%, 7 HR, 21 RBIs

Devin Smeltzer (AA/AAA) 2019: 54.2 IP, 1.15 ERA, 0.896 WHIP, 4.80 K/BB

Since the trade, it is obvious Brian Dozier has been a different player then the one we know. The Twins appear to have nailed on both prospects and both are already in AAA although Raley will be missing a few months. I love this trade because both prospects can make an impact and Brian Dozier is currently playing far below replacement level.

Trade Grade: A

Eduardo Escobar trade: Escobar is most likely the most missed Twin just because of the energy and fun he would always play with. Luckily the Twins were able to grab a few quality pieces from this trade. Escobar got off to a bad start after being traded and never really heated up until early this season. Sadly the Twins could not get him back because he signed a 3 year deal with Arizona. The Twins acquired starter Jhoan Duran, along with outfielders Ernie De La Trinidad and Gabriel Maciel.

Eduardo Escobar since trade: .269/.330/.496 (.826), 115 wRC+, 18.3 K%, 20 HR, 57 RBIs

Jhoan Duran 2019 (A+): #7 prospect, 4.60 ERA, 1.295 WHIP, 9.2 K/9, 3.14 xFIP

Ernie De La Trinidad 2019 (AA): .215/.336/.308 (.642), 99 wRC+, 13.0 BB%(!)

Gabriel Maciel 2019 (A): #25 prospect .298/.397/.346 (.743), 122 wRC+, 13.9 BB%(!)

So obviously Escobar is a good fun player to have on your team but the Twins essentially replaced him with Marwin Gonzalez while getting three quality prospects. Duran is interesting because he pitched really well last year but the home run ball has been getting him a lot in 2019. Expect his numbers to go down soon. Maciel is a fun player because hes 15th in the minors for OBP while being near the bottom on slugging. He reminds me a lot of Ben Revere. Overall a good trade but with Duran and De La Trinidad struggling we can not tell for sure yet.

Trade Grade: B+

Ryan Pressly trade: Isn’t it just so annoying that we traded the best reliever in baseball to an American League powerhouse? We can only imagine a Pressly/Rogers combination for the playoff Twins... anyway, it will be alright because we got two quality prospects for him with Alcala and Celestino. Jorge Alcala is primarily a starter with a lot of strikeout upside while Celestino is an outfielder with upside similar to that of Jake Cave.

Ryan Pressly since trade: 0.39 ERA, 0.570 WHIP, 11.2 K/9, .141 AVG, .346 OPS

Jorge Alcala 2019 (AA): #7 prospect, 48.0 IP, 4.69 ERA, 1.396 WHIP, 10.3 K/9

Gilberto Celestino 2019 (A): .221/.298/.288 (.587), 2 HR, 7 SB

The Twins made the right move by trading Pressly at the deadline. If you can ever get a top ten team prospect for a reliever then you make the move. In hindsight it sucks because he has literally become one of the greatest relievers of all time by setting the scoreless streak record. A lot of fans are mad at this trade for good reasons but the Twins were not a playoff team in 2018 so building for the future was important. Alcala has good upside but is struggling right now so keep an eye on him as he is the Twins #7 prospect.

Trade Grade: B

Lance Lynn trade: This trade for the Twins sent starting pitcher Lance Lynn to the Yankees in exchange for first baseman Tyler Austin and pitcher Luis Rijo. A lot of fans focused and really liked Austin but he was not the player the Twins had high hopes for. They just took a flier on him because the Yanks had no room for him. The player the Twins really like is Luis Rijo. He is just 20 years old and comes in as the Twins #30 prospect already. Lance Lynn is basically just an average starter who would not fit in the 2019 Twins rotation.

Lance Lynn since trade: 4.35 ERA, .269 AVG, .716 OPS, 9.1 K/9

Tyler Austin since trade: .218/.300/.437 (.737), 96 wRC+, 37.0 K%, 8 HR, 28 RBIs

Luis Rijo 2019 (A): 3.47 ERA, 7.43 K/9, 58.3 GB%(!), 1.380 WHIP, 3.47 BB/9

Overall the Twins got a nice package for Lynn who really had no future on the team. The flier on Tyler Austin really headlined the trade for the fans but obviously C.J. Cron came along and is a far better option. Luis Rijo will certainly be an interesting pitcher to keep your eye on for the next few years as he continues to get better.

Trade Grade: A-

Personally I am a huge fan of what this front office is doing with the Twins. They are currently in their best spot in a decade and this is not a one year wonder type of team. These trades will help us sustain our 2019 success for many years to come. Falvey and Levine have always talked about building a consistent winner, sort of like what the Astros have done by growing your stars and supplementing them with veterans who carry you to the next level. The type of model they are trying to avoid would be the recent World Series winning Royals way. They had about a three year window but when that was up they had no minor league depth to sustain it.

Would you rather have a consistent winner for the next ten years without a world series guarantee but it is always fun, or would you rather have a World Series winning year followed by a decade of rebuilding?