The trade deadline passed and the Twins have done... well if I could sum it up with a quote from I Think You Should Leave:
That’s right. The Twins made no trades at the deadline. Zero. Zilch. Nada.
Coming into the year, the Twins had two very distinct issues: they needed another reliable reliever and a right-handed corner outfielder. As the year has gone on, those issues have gotten even more pronounced as Griffin Jax and Jhoan Duran got overworked, and the Twins became one of the worst teams in the league against lefties.
No one panicked about it to start the year because they knew these were easily filled holes at the deadline. Platoon outfielders and rental relievers are always in supply at the deadline, and that was true again this year.
Nobody was realistically expecting the Twins to go out and pick up Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, Pete Alonso, or Josh Hader. That would have taken prospect capital the Twins don’t have the organizational depth for.
But David Robertson was acquired for the Marlins’ 18th and 21st ranked prospects, both playing at the Florida Complex League and unlikely to ever make it to the majors.
Tommy Pham was acquired for a 17-year-old shortstop.
Paul Sewald was acquired for a major leaguer who can’t hit, and Arizona’s 19th and 29th ranked prospects.
Keynan Middleton for the Yankees’ 29th ranked prospect.
Andrew Chafin for a 28-year-old middling Triple A reliever.
Brad Hand for a 25-year-old reliever who wasn’t ranked in Atlanta’s system.
Jeimer Candelario for the Cubs’ 14th and 16th ranked prospects.
Mark Canha for the Brewers’ 30th ranked prospect.
CJ Cron AND Randal Grichuk for what’s now Colorado’s 20th and 21st ranked prospects.
You’re telling me that the Twins were unwilling to part with Ronny Henriquez, Misael Urbina, Rafael Cruz, Kala’i Rosario, or other prospects of that range to pick up a reliable bullpen arm or right-handed bat? Or that none of those players (to say nothing of Teoscar Hernandez, who wasn’t dealt at all) would be an upgrade on Joey Gallo and his nearly 50% strikeout rate?
Falvey said some potential sellers ended up drifting toward not selling, limiting the availability of some players they thought might be fits.— Do-Hyoung Park (@dohyoungpark) August 1, 2023
Said they didn't find a fit that also crossed the bar of having to push someone off the roster among the existing group.
None of these players would have changed the course of the Twins season, only Correa and Buxton can do that, but they would have made improvements on the margins that can be the difference come October.
To make matters worse, about 20 minutes after the trade deadline, Derek Falvey was speaking to the media and announced that both Alex Kirilloff and Brock Stewart experienced setbacks in their injury recoveries, making it incredibly frustrating the Twins didn’t try to find stopgaps.
What comes next?
The Twins are still most likely going to win the central, mostly due to the complete incompetence of the rest of the division. Cleveland sold off a couple veterans to improve next year, and the other 3 are among the worst teams in the league, so you can see the front office’s thinking. They don’t want to give up assets to improve a team that doesn’t need improvement to make the playoffs, but these exact issues have plagued them since the end of last season, and they did nothing to improve at any stretch in the last nine months.
For better or worse, this clearly shows that Derek Falvey has quite a bit of job security. A front office with more pressure doesn’t stand pat at the deadline (take a look at what the Angels have done). I’ve mostly defended his moves, and I think each individual one can be defended. But when you’re looking at the totality of everything and the current standing of the Minnesota Twins, it’s underwhelming.
You give credit where it’s due: Edouard Julien, Alex Kirilloff, Joe Ryan, Pablo Lopez, and Bailey Ober all look like long-term fixtures of the next great Twins team. They got Carlos Correa, one of the biggest names in baseball, to sign with them not once, but twice. And as I’ve been saying all year, a lot of the issues with this team go away if Correa and Buxton start hitting like they’re capable of. But none of that changes the fact that this team had clear, easily fixable holes, and they actively decided not to do anything about it.
The pressure is on the players, coaching staff, and front office alike. The next two months could very well shape the next five years of Twins baseball.