The Twins were recently connected, via trade rumor, to one or both of Detroit’s top trade chips, as the deadline approaches. Matthew Boyd is one of the most valuable pitchers available, primarily due to team control, and Shane Greene is a very desirable reliever, as well. While trades within divisions are more common than they once were, the Tigers will likely not want to make a trade that hurts their long-term chances. That being said, speculation is fun, so I reached out to Adam Dubbin, who writes over at Bless You Boys, and Adam gave me some great answers.
1. So Boyd is obviously going to be one of the most expensive trade pieces on the market, given the season he is having, and the team control remaining. I also assume that the Twins would have to pay more, being in the division. The Twins front office has labelled Alex Kirilloff, Royce Lewis, and Brusdar Graterol off-limits. Without those guys, do we have the ammunition to pull off a trade? What kind of prospects would it take? Would we need to include one or more of our “untouchables?”
The fanbase is definitely looking for a king’s ransom in return, whether that is fair or not. From a more objective standpoint, Boyd has put up very impressive numbers, and his primary black eye is his home run rate, which can at least in part be attributed to the “juiced” ball. At least one of those names you listed would have to be in consideration for a Boyd trade to be made, especially considering that the Twins are an division rival and the Tigers would have to face him the next three years.
2. Staying on the Boyd topic, this is clearly his best year in the majors, and while his ERA isn’t amazing, his FIP implies he’s been unlucky. What changes has he made? Why is he suddenly better than his past record indicates, and is it a sustainable change?
Boyd put a lot of work in during the offseason with Driveline and adjusting his diet — the latter is an area I think is the next frontier when it comes to tackling inefficiencies in player development systems. In my opinion, a change in pitching approach is only sustainable if adjustments can be made. What I mean by that is that sports are generally a tug-of-war — you find a way to beat your opponent, and the opponent tries to correct themselves and gain an advantage on you, and so on. Like a game of chess. In Boyd’s case, I think that the way he has modified his approach to pitching does allow him to make those adjustments. That said, it would be nice to see some tweaks soon to account for the elevated home run rate.
3. Greene is performing above career expectations as well. He had a good 2017, but was not great last year. This year, his ERA is sparkly. So the same question applies -- is this sustainable? Why or why not?
Shane Greene is an interesting story, especially when you consider he has an underlying medical condition that relegated him from starter to reliever. He dealt with some circulatory issues in the past that I’m not sure have completely resolved, mainly that he has trouble with the sense of touch in his fingers. That said, it seems like he has found his groove and he has shown flashes in the past of what we’re seeing now. Entering his prime years, he is very likely peaking, but as long as he can keep up the deception he uses to get batters out, he has a few miles left on his ticker.
4. What do you think Greene would cost on his own? How much more would we have to throw into a deal for Boyd to get him included?
I’m really bad at trade value analysis, but with a year of control after 2019 and his solid standard and peripheral stats, I don’t think the Tigers are out of line asking for a top 50 prospect or more back for him. He’s a here-and-now kind of player who can bolster a bullpen for a playoff run, and offer another season of control to boot.
5. Rick Anderson and Ron Gardenhire were known around Minnesota for preaching and teaching “pitch to contact,” even when it wasn’t the best for an individual player. Has that been a factor at all for these guys?
This is a difficult question to answer, because Boyd’s success is the antithesis of that. Honestly, I’m not sure there is truly a unified approach, and with the dearth of talent on the Toledo-Detroit shuttle, it’s really hard to say for certain.
6. What else should we know about either pitcher? Any fun facts or personality quirks?
Shane Greene seems to be very introverted, which makes for some interesting headlines, like his response to his All-Star selection. Matthew Boyd is a wholesome, aw-shucks kind of guy you just can’t help but root for.
7. anything else I should have asked, but didn’t?
“How does it feel to be the worst team in the majors?” — but seriously, it’s s trying time for sports writers and fans alike.
Thanks again Adam, for the great answers!
Would you give up Kirilloff, Lewis, or Graterol to receive Boyd?
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