Twins off-season thoughts: The first of the 2 trades for starting pitching: Match made in heaven.

My premise this off-season is for the Twins to be competitive deep in the 2018 post-season, they need 2 starters better than Berrios, and at least 3 relievers better than what they have now.   A few days ago, I discussed three free agents who can play a vital role in the Twins' 2018 pen.  Unfortunately, unless someone believes that the Shohei Otani lottery ticket will land on the Twins' lap (it still could, btw; I just don't like living on a prayer,) there are no suitable free agent pitchers who fit this bill, as far as starters go.

So the Twins have to trade for two top of the rotation pitchers.   As far as who their first trade partner to accomplish this would be, I was crystal clear.  As far as who their target should be, I was not, until I had an epiphany.   There is a great synergy for the New York Mets to be the Twins' trading partner again.  The Twins traded both Frank Viola and Johan Santana to the Mets, in trades that met both teams' needs needs (albeit the Gardenhire Twins were too quick to give up on the superstar centerfielder they got in return).

Two of the biggest New York Mets' needs are a veteran starting pitcher who will be there to eat innings and be an example to their young Five Aces, a second baseman, and a power bat.  This clearly spells Ervin Santana, and Brian Dozier, ladies and gentlemen.  As far as who the Twins should be after, I have been really focusing on 29 year old Jacob DeGrom who has been their most consistent pitcher, has 2 years of club control through arbitration and about to get pretty expensive.  Or the 25 year old lefty, Steve Matz, who did have a health scare, but his reconstructed UCL was fine after all, and might have the highest potential of them all.

But then it hit me.  There is a guy who would be as great a fit to Minnesota as Ragnar, and probably more than this guy:  The Scandinavian god of thunder, Thor, himself.  Indeed,  the Twins should go after 25 year old RHSP Noah Syndergaard.  Probably fell in their depth charts behind DeGrom, and with Matz, Steven Wheeler, Robert Gsellman, and even Matt Harvey ready to step in his shoes, Thor can rule in the frozen tundra in 2018.  Just imagine the sponsorship opportunities for the guy.

What will it take for the Twins to get Syndergaard?  Assuming that he is fully recovered from his lat muscle issue,  Santana and Dozier might not be enough.  I think that adding Nick Gordon (a top 20 MLB prospect according to Baseball America), and Tyler Duffey and/or Jake Reed will help sweeten the deal.  The Mets do need help in their pen and the Twins have plenty.

So here is the deal:

Noah Syndergaard to the Twins for Ervin Santana,  Brian Dozier, Nick Gordon, and Tyler Duffey and/or Jake Reed.

Mind you, this is not a trade between a team that wants to shed payroll and a competitive team. This is a treat between 2 competitive teams that are comfortable trading and rearranging assets.  Not many of these kind of trades happen.  The last one the Twins did, also involved the Mets, who traded Ricky Reed for Matt Lawton.  This is not a Santana or a Viola deal that was centered on prospects.

And the Twins have their opening day 2018 starter.  And this is a match made in a Scandinavian heaven. 

And the Mets and the Twins meet in the 2018 World Series (Hint: Twins in 7.)


Twins off-season thoughts: Three free agents for the pen

It is not a secret that the Twins reached the 2017 post-season despite their awful pitching situation.  Even though, I believe that there are not any suitable starting pitchers who are free agents that can help the Twins in 2018, there are three relievers that the Twins need to take a close look to supplement their staff.   To fill a rotation competitive long in the post-season, the Twins will need at least 2 pitchers better than Berrios, and other than Darvish and Otani who are unapproachable for the Twins, nobody really fits the list.  They are better off trading for those, and will discuss that matter in another post.

As far as the pen goes, the Twins glaring needs are for a dominant closer, a dominant opposite hand late inning reliever and a dominant 2-3 inning reliever.  Dillon Gee could play that  later role, but he does not miss many bats, which has been the issue with the whole of the Twins' pen last season.  It ranked 23rd in FIP, 29% in K%, tied for 20th in K-BB%, and 19th with a -9.62 RE24, and 29th in SwStr%.   Here are the players the Twins should have a look at:

Closer:  RHP Brandon Morrow (29.4 K%, 24.1 K-BB%, 15.9 SwStr%, 1.55 FIP, 11.90 RE24)   Morrow dominated as a set up man for a team that made it to the World Series.  Finally healthy, he featured a 98 mph fastball, 89 mph slider, supplemented by a 92 mph cutter.  These are closer stuff.  The 33 year old will be popular this off-season and MLB Trade Rumors projects that he will go to the Rockies with a 3 year, $24 million contract.  I think that the Twins could prevail offering him 2 years at $18 and a third optional year at $11 with a $2 million buy out, for a total of $20 million guaranteed.

Opposite hand late reliever:  LHP Boone Logan (30.8 K%, 20.9 K-BB%, 18.5 SwStr%, 3.16 FIP, 11.31 RE24).  The Indians bought out his $7M option for $1M, making him a free agent.  Logan, who is also 33,  had issues with a Lat muscle strain, so he posses somewhat of a risk.  The Twins can reel him him in with a 1 yr $4M contract, with $2 more millions in incentives and a vesting option for 2017 for $8 million.   So the risk will be 1 year and $4M and the upside a $2 yr, 14 million, which is fair if Logan continues his performance.

Quality workhorse:  RHP Yusmeiro Petit  (28.5K%, 23.4 K-BB%, 10.6 SwStr%, 2.85 FIP, 19.34 RE24).  The 32 year old journeyman finally made the transition to the pen where he shined with the Angels last season pitching 91-1/3 innings of excellent ball.  Petit never walks anyone but this season he started missing bats, making it an awesome combination for someone who can pitch 3-4 shutdown innings at a time.  Petit never made much money in his professional career, and a 2 yr / $10 million,  or 3 year / $12 million deal will appropriate to bring him to Minnesota.

This way the Twins will have a 2018 pen anchored by Morrow and Logan, supplemented by Petit and four of their young leftovers with high potential, who will have the opportunity, unlike in 2017, to pitch and develop in less stressful situations with some real mentors.