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MLB trade rumors: Five Twins who could be dealt before July 30 deadline

MLB trade rumors: Five Twins who could be dealt before July 30 deadline

The Twins had high hopes for the 2021 season. Those hopes have been dashed, consistently and painfully, over the past few months.

We’re now a week into July and the club is still double-digit games under .500 — they’re 35-50 after a loss Wednesday, in last place in the AL Central behind the Tigers and Royals — and it’s time for a change.

The Twins have five players scheduled to be free agents after the season — players with that type of contract status are always trade potentials — and several players under contract/control for a couple of more seasons who would be very attractive to potential contenders in 2021 and 2022.

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Let’s take a look at five Twins who could be moved in the next couple of weeks, and where they might wind up. Andrelton Simmons and J.A. Happ could be moved, too, but there isn’t a huge market for a shortstop with a 70 OPS+ or a starter with a 6.09 ERA, so we’ll focus on these other five players.

Jose Berrios, SP

Contract status: Arbitration-eligible for the final time in 2022, free agent after 2023

Need to know: No Twins player would bring back a bigger return than Berrios, an ace-type who could step right into the top few spots of pretty much any contender’s rotation. The teams that try to trade for Berrios are the teams that truly believe they can win the World Series, with Berrios being one of the final pieces. The right-hander is a two-time All-Star who currently has career-best marks in ERA (3.36) and FIP (3.46) and — oh, yeah — has a 2.45 ERA in three starts since the sticky-stuff ban went into effect.

Potential destination: Padres. Look, here’s the thing: If the Twins do make Berrios available, they’re not trading him unless they’re blown away by an offer. Because if they don’t get what they want now, they could hold him and trade him in the offseason, or try to sign him to an extension, or just let him pitch out his contract when they try to contend again in 2022. So not only do you have to look at teams that want an ace-type pitcher, but ones that have the prospects necessary to make a deal happen. The Padres have both the motivation and the prospects. The Dodgers could be interested too, depending on what happens with Trevor Bauer.

Taylor Rogers, RP

Contract status: Arbitration-eligible for the final time in 2022, free agent after 2023

Need to know: In the history of baseball, I’m pretty sure there has never been a contending team fully satisfied with its bullpen heading into the trade deadline. They don’t all swing trades for relief arms, but they at least kick the tires. Rogers has been super reliable for the Twins, posting a 2.75 ERA in 187 relief appearances since the start of the 2018 season. He’s a lefty, too, with 50 strikeouts and as many saves as walks — seven of both — in 35 2/3 innings this year.

Potential destination: A’s. The Bay Area’s kelly green team could use help in the later innings, and Rogers feels like a great fit. He won’t be cheap in his final year of arbitration — he’s making $6 million this year — but it’s also possible the A’s could trade for him now, then move him again in the offseason to avoid paying his raise for 2022.

Nelson Cruz, DH

Contract status: Free agent after 2021

Need to know: He’s a DH only, of course — he just turned 41 and hasn’t played in the field since four games in 2018 — which limits his suitors to American League teams. But that’s literally the only downside to Cruz, who is as consistent of a hitter and power source as there is in the game. He’s right around a .300 batting average again, with 18 homers and a 162 OPS+.

Potential destination: White Sox. Yeah, a lot of folks have connected Cruz to the A’s, and maybe it’s a little hard to imagine the Twins and White Sox — AL Central rivals — making a deal like this. But the White Sox have been crushed by injuries to their sluggers and need offensive help, especially now that DH Yermin Mercedes stopped hitting and has been sent to the minors.

Michael Pineda, SP

Contract status: Free agent after 2021

Need to know: Pineda missed time with elbow inflammation, but returned from the IL to work into the sixth inning on Wednesday against the White Sox. He wasn’t great — 12 hits, five earned runs — but a little rust after a layoff isn’t a horrible thing. In his first 11 starts of the season, Pineda had a solid 3.70, with 8.2 strikeouts per nine and 2.4 walks per nine. He’s not necessarily a guy you trade for hoping he’ll start Game 2 of a postseason series, but he’s the type of guy who could be acquired without a big prospect cost to help a team survive the next couple of months and get into the postseason.

Potential destination: Rays. Just feels like he’ll wind up somewhere like Tampa Bay or San Francisco, doesn’t it? Maybe the Cardinals throw out a feeler?

Hansel Robles, RP

Contract status: Free agent after 2021

Need to know: Robles leads the Twins with eight saves in 10 opportunities, but it’s unlikely the team that trades for him would immediately give him the ninth-inning role. He’s a good arm to add to a contender’s bullpen, though. He does have closer experience — the eight saves this year and 23 for the Angels in 2019 — and has 36 strikeouts in 37 innings this year, with a 4.38 ERA that jumped up a few notches with a rough stretch since the last week or so of June.

Potential destination: Phillies. Two things have been true of the Phillies for the past several years — they’re always around .500 and they’re always in need of bullpen help. Same’s true in 2021; they entered play on Wednesday with a 41-42 record, but they’re only four games behind the Mets in the NL East. Robles wouldn’t cost a ton, and would be worth a look.

About the author

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Janice Tilson

Janice has been phenomenal in the success of Stock Market Pioneer. She is the super dedicated types, always glued to her computer. She talks less, but when it comes to work, she is behind none. She is a tech geek and contributes to the technology section of Stock Market Pioneer.

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