With the trade deadline approaching faster than Byron Buxton rounding third, the market thus far has been colder than Fargo in January. The Mets found a way to Mets-up the whole starting pitching market for everyone, but the Twins should be aggressive in adding a couple more relief arms before the clock strikes 3:00 PM on the 31st.
That’s where Archie Bradley comes in. The red-bearded right-hander for the Diamondbacks is someone the Twins should target. While he has struggled a bit this year, I think the Twins would be able to unlock the underlying elite reliever. At likely less cost than big names like Edwin Diaz and Kirby Yates, Bradley is a realistic target who would provide great value to the team.
Granted, his numbers this year have not been stellar. Bradley has a 4.30 ERA in 46.0 innings, which impresses no one. However, Bradley does have 64 strikeouts in those 46 innings, and has only given up .9 HR/9 innings, which bodes well for his potential effectiveness with runners on base. Furthermore, he has been pretty unlucky this year. His FIP (fielding-independent pitching) sits at 3.19, over 1 whole point below his ERA. He’s also been stung for a pretty high (unlucky) batting average on balls in play, as hitters have hit .393 on balls in play against him. That number has sat below .290 in each of the past two years.
Speaking of the last two years, Bradley has been a bona fide ace out in the pen in the past. In 2018, he sported a 3.64 ERA with 75 strikeouts in 71.2 innings. In 2017, he was even better. That year, he held a 1.73 ERA with 79 punch outs in 73 innings. While some may look at these numbers and see an aging veteran on the back nine of his career, Bradley is only 26 years old. What this tells me is that there is likely an easy mechanical fix that could unlock the elite level Bradley has pitched at in the past. Pitching coach Wes Johnson has proven that he can bring out the best in pitchers, and Bradley could be another case of this.
Another reason to like Bradley as a trade target is that, at 26, he will still be under team control for two more years before free agency hits. Rather than pick up a rental, it really makes sense for the Twins to trade for a pitcher who fits the team’s timeline. While they are certainly contenders this year, the Twins are loaded with young talent who project to be even better in the next couple years. The prospect cost for Bradley would likely be comparably cheap as well. The Mets have proven (reportedly) that they have no idea what a reasonable trade looks like, so Diaz and Seth Lugo could be expensive (or out of the question). Kirby Yates is one of the top targets for all the teams who need relief help (read: all the teams), and the Padres are only a year or two away, so he would likely be pretty expensive. However, Bradley would likely cost the Twins about what Sergio Romo did, only without the extra prospects in return. He could fetch a slightly higher prospect (or an extra prospect) than Lewin Diaz, given his age, but his performance this year will keep the cost relatively low.
Hopefully the Twins are able to wrestle someone like Kirby Yates on to their side before the deadline, but whether they do or not, they should take a long look at Archie Bradley. No matter what, let’s hope Bradley doesn’t go to the Yankees, because shaving that beard would be a shame.
Should the Twins trade for Archie Bradley?
This poll is closed
No! Yates or Diaz or bust
Yes, great beard
Trade Buxton for Syndergaard