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The Padres just bought two aces, could the Twins have done similar?

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Would you have done the deal

National League Wild Card Game 2: Miami Marlins v. Chicago Cubs Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The hot stove is finally, well, lukewarm, thanks entirely to AJ Preller and the San Diego Padres, who traded for two ace pitchers and signed Korean infielder Ha-seong Kim within 24 whirlwind hours. Blake Snell will be moving from the Rays to SoCal, and Yu Darvish will be leaving Chicago for the west coast as well. Could the Twins have potentially topped either of these deals? Obviously they chose not to, but lets look at the pieces that left San Diego, and the most comparable bits of the Twins farm.

Rays trade Blake Snell to Padres for Luis Patino, Francisco Mejia, Blake Hunt, and Cole Wilcox.

Snell is a relatively inexpensive ace with World Series experience. He is probably the best pitcher that will find a new home this winter, via trade or free agency. In order to acquire him, the Padres gave up enough prospect value to ransom a duke, if not actually a king.

Luis Patino is a 21-year old righty starter that earned a MLB cup of coffee in 2020. For San Diego, he generally functioned as a reliever, starting one game, and finishing one, while appearing in 11 total. His overall ERA was 5.19, and he was wild, with a 7.3 BB/9 rate. Still, there was much to like, such as his 10.9 K/9, and more importantly, his performance in the minors. The closest comparison among the Twins system is probably Jorge Alcala.

You may remember Francisco Mejia being a Cleveland uber-prospect a few years back. He was the return that San Diego got for Adam Cimber and Brad Hand, and since then hasn’t done much. He’s a catcher, but not a particularly good one so far. It looked like he was breaking out in 2019, before a miserable 2020. Still, he’s only 24 and not arbitration eligible until 2022. If you just look at their last two seasons, you can call him a Mitch Garver comp, but overall The closest comparison among the Twins system is probably Ben Rortvedt. I’ll listen to arguments to substitute Garver or even Willians Astudillo here.

Blake Hunt is a 22-year old catcher and first baseman who topped out at high-A in 2019. He’s hit well at every level. The closest comparison among the Twins system is probably Trevor Casanova.

Cole Wilcox is a 21-year old SEC product who has actually never pitched professionally. He was used as both a starter and reliever at Georgia in 2019, and exclusively as a starter in 2020, before the Padres made him their third round pick in 2020’s abbreviated draft. The closest comparison among the Twins system is probably Marco Raya.

Poll

Would you trade Alcala, Rortvedt, Casanova, and Raya for Snell?

This poll is closed

  • 87%
    Yes
    (489 votes)
  • 12%
    No
    (73 votes)
562 votes total Vote Now

I’m going off the “closest comparisons” I can find, but if I were the Rays, I would have probably liked the Padres package slightly better, so in my opinion, the Twins would have needed to sweeten the pot by upgrading at least one of the prospects. If you have thoughts on what Snell would have cost the Twins, let us know in the comments.

Snell wasn’t the only high-end starter the Padres acquired, although the other pitcher came at a higher salary, that was somewhat offset by the lower prospect cost.

Cubs trade Yu Darvish and Victor Caratini to the Padres for Zach Davies, Reginald Preciado, Owen Caissie, Yeison Santana, and Ismael Mena

Darvish also has World Series experience, although his is even more fraught than Snell’s. He’s significantly older, and at higher risk of dropoff, as he’s 35 years old, and has three years and $62 million remaining on his contract.

Zach Davies has spent parts of six seasons starting in the pros, primarily for the Milwaukee Brewers, which means the Cubs probably have a solid scouting report on him. He’s been a generally durable and reliable, if unspectacular hurler, and has been worth 9.7 bWAR in his career. He’s a third-year arbitration eligible player, and the closest comparison in the Twins system is probably Jose Berrios.

Reginald Preciado is a seventeen year old switch-hitting shortstop from Panama. When he signed for $1.3 million in July of 2019, it set a record bonus for a Panamanian player. Scouts suggest that he will likely move to third base or the outfield, but his hitting should hold up well in either position, especially from the left side. The closest comparison in the Twins system is probably outfielder Emmanuel Rodriguez.

Owen Caissie is also a rookie-ball level player, drafted out of an Ontario high school as the Padres’ second round pick in 2020. He’s a corner outfielder with power potential, but is very young. Since the Twins prefer to draft college outfielders, its hard to find a perfect comparison, but since their 2020 second rounder was also an outfielder, lets just say the closest comparison in the Twins system is probably Alerick Soularie.

Yeison Santana is another young player, in his case, he’s 20 years old with a couple years of MiLB experience. He’s a shortstop that appears to be able to stay at the position, and his floor is likely a MLB utilityman. The closest comparison in the Twins system is probably Will Holland.

Ismael Mena, another teenager, is an 18-year old outfielder. He’s a good defender with speed and a left-handed bat. The closest comparison in the Twins system is probably Misael Urbina.

Poll

Would you trade Berrios, Rodriguez, Soularie, Holland, and Urbina for Darvish and Caratini

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    Yes
    (102 votes)
  • 81%
    No
    (443 votes)
545 votes total Vote Now

The Cubs clearly chose a quantity-over-quality approach to this return, but they have several players with a chance to become big league assets coming back. These are mostly very young players and at that point, its hard to project. Still, all of these players are between 11 and 16 in the Padres formerly-loaded farm system. The Twins also obviously had less need for Caratini, but in our hypothetical, we’ll include him. As with the Snell trade, I think the comparisons I drew probably make the Padres offer slightly better than the Twins’ offer, so feel free to suggest your own trades in the comments below.