The Twins added right handed relievers Sergio Romo and Sam Dyson at the July 31st trade deadline. Those two guys are going to go a long way towards reinforcing the Twins’ weakness in their bullpen. However, the front office could still add a couple more arms to help out. While they cannot acquire any talent that is playing on a major league contract, players working under a minor league deal can still be traded, then added to the team’s roster—and if they are on the roster by August 31st, they can participate in the postseason. While its true that any player on a minor league deal will have some flaws, the Twins may still find a player with something left to give. They also would not be likely to give up much value in such a swap. Here are three players I think the Twins should consider picking up, although their scouting is much more in depth than mine will be.
The 32-year old veteran starter is currently leading all of triple-A in strikeouts, and has posted a very respectable 1.14 WHIP (second in Triple-A behind former teammate Zac Gallen) and 3.82 ERA for New Orleans. Considering that he hasn’t even managed to crack the roster for the Marlins, that might be saying something, and he has never performed well in the pros. Over the course of five years, he played for four MLB teams, and never posted an ERA below 4.30, while averaging 5.30 in his career. Still, FIP suggests luck might be involved a bit, as his overall number sits at 5.00—not great, but not awful. As a career starter, he has only a few bullpen appearances, but posted good numbers in triple-A last season in a swingman role. He seems to be a prime candidate to convert to relief, as he throws a 93 mph fastball roughly 55% of the time (based on his pro numbers, Fangraphs doesn’t have this info for the minors.) Adding a couple ticks to that speed, as often happens in these conversions, could take that pitch from “average” to “weapon.” He also utilizes a slider, a curve, and a changeup. As a reliever, you can get away with simplifying that arsenal, and dropping your least effective pitch (or two) from the rotation. Bottom line, he would be a cheap flier that could sit at Rochester for a couple weeks, and be called up if reinforcements are needed—but that might be a recurring theme here.
Update: The Marlins selected Noesi’s contract today, so he can no longer be traded.
Another former big-leaguer pitching for New Orleans in the notoriously hitter-friendly PCL, Alvarez is a reliever, not a starter. He’s currently second in Triple-A in saves, at 14. He also owns a 1.40 WHIP, although his ERA is a less attractive (unless you’re into certain substances) 4.20, which is largely due to a career high nine home runs surrendered in 45 innings. He had a great debut with the Padres back in 2014, posting a 1.13 ERA in ten appearances. He followed that up with a disaster of a sophomore campaign for Oakland, posting a 9.90 ERA in 21 appearances before being sent down, and has never made his way back to the big leagues. While the numbers are dated, he relied primarily on a 94 mph fastball, while mixing in a slider and a change as a pro. I certainly wouldn’t trust Alvarez in a high-leverage role, but he could be an acceptable option to eat some meaningless innings and keep guys like Romo, Trevor May, and Taylor Rogers off the mound a little more often. Perhaps Derek Jeter will give us a package deal for Alvarez and Noesi? We know he is willing to trade with the Twins.
Finally, a player that isn’t a Marlin. Currently in the Reds organization, Grimm has also had more, and more recent MLB success than either of the other guys. The 30-year old righty has made a few stops in his career, but pitched primarily for the Chicago Cubs, where most of his success came after failing as a starter for the Rangers. After an awful stint with the Royals last season, he finished strong in five appearances with the Mariners, posting a 1.93 ERA and a 0.429 WHIP in the admittedly small sample. Don’t look up his stats with the Royals if you want to convince yourself he could work, although his (still very bad) FIP suggests he didn’t actually earn all of the bad-ness on his own. Pitching for the Louisville Bats currently, he also spent time in the Dodgers organization, and has posted a 5.08 ERA and a 1.422 WHIP. While those numbers are clearly less-than-ideal, they are essentially his career MLB numbers, and could make him another not-unreasonable option for lower leverage outings. He has, at the very least, proven that last season was likely an aberration. As recently as September, Fangraphs took note of his career rebuild. Grimm throws a four-pitch mix, but relies on either his fastball or curve over 90% of the time. The fastball sits in the low 90’s, while the curve is clocking in at just over 80 mph. Of the three options here, he is probably the lowest risk, but also the lowest possible reward. You know what you are getting, and while it ain’t great, its serviceable.
Considering the fact they don’t currently require a roster spot, should the Twins take a flier on trading for...
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None of them