We all knew the Minnesota Twins were going to be sellers at the deadline, and they started already. In a deal finalized yesterday, Nelson Cruz heads to Tampa Bay along with minor league pitcher Calvin Faucher for minor league pitchers Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman. It is likely the Twins are not done. They definitely have some pieces to move and could look like a much different team in another week.
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Rank: Fourth in the AL Central, 17 games back
Before the season started, many people had the Twins picked as American League Central winners or at the very least, a Wild Card team. Minnesota won the division the past two years and returned many of the same players. Unfortunately, injuries and the horrendous pitching staff derailed their playoff hopes. As a team, they have a 4.95 ERA which is fourth-worst in the majors and is tied to the fact that Minnesota’s pitchers have surrendered the most home runs in baseball (144).
The bullpen especially has been a disaster outside of Taylor Rogers and Tyler Duffey. Aside from them, the Twins relievers have a 5.28 ERA and have given up 49 HRs in 271 innings. The starters bear much of the blame as well for this lost season. However, there are a few pitchers that could be on the move by July 30th.
He is obviously the big name being floated around for teams that are looking for pitching. Berrios won’t be a free agent until after 2022 so his value right now is very high. The right-hander has had a typical season for him with a 3.63 ERA and has averaged a hair over six innings per start. He also boasts a nearly 4/1 K/BB rate. The team that acquires the 27-year-old will be getting a workhorse and solid production.
These two deserve to be lumped together. Both are free agents at the end of the season and while neither of them has been very good this year, they could serve as a valuable bullpen piece or spot starter down the stretch enabling the acquiring team(s) to rest their big guns for the playoffs. The Twins need to get what they can for Pineda and Happ and call it a day.
Quietly, the Bringer of Rain has had another good season slashing .246/.346/.477 with 15 bombs. Donaldson is also signed through 2023 with a team option for 2024. While some teams may not want to pay the $21.75 million he is owed in each of the next two years, the Twins may be willing to eat some of that money if it means them getting a better prospect or two. Just like Cruz brought back a couple of Triple-A pitchers from the Rays, Donaldson may net Minnesota a similar haul.
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