The Twins should trade for this Ace who is flying under the radar

Last week, I discussed the need for the Twins to acquire starting pitching, if they intended to compete in the postseason in 2019.  My argument is that they needed two pitchers better than Berrios in order to be able to counter the top of the rotations of Boston, Houston, and Cleveland in a short series.  I suggested that they acquire the top available lefty free agent, who will slot in the second spot of the rotation, since no team was won the World Series without a lefty starter since divisional play, other than the 2004 curse busting Red Sox.

The New York Mets' starting pitching has been receiving a lot of attention, esp. Cy Young award winner Jacob DeGrom who is in his final arbitration year and phenom Noah Syndergaard who is  under team control for three more seasons.   Either of them would be an instant ace in many teams, including the Twins, but the Mets' best pitcher later last season is flying under the radar.  With yet more time removed from surgeries and injuries, 28 year old righty Zack Wheeler put the following numbers in the second half: 1.68 ERA, 2.53 FIP, 0.810 WHIP/.229 BABIP, 25.7 K%, 20.4 K-BB%, arguably bettering both his teammates.

Wheeler is in the middle of the Mets' starting pitching depth, some might even say 4th after oft-injured lefty Steven Matz, and has only one year of team control, but will be on top of the Twins' rotation in 2019, if the Twins were to trade for him.  What would it take to get Zack Wheeler from the Mets?  The Mets are on record saying that they want to be competitive in 2019 and will not be looking for prospect that are far away, but for major leaguers and close to be major leaguers in any trade.  The Twins have a great match for the Mets' needs in Jake Odorizzi, who is also 28 and in his last arbitration season, and also 28, and even though he has had mixed results against AL teams, he has been punishing NL teams (career 9-4 with a 3.21 ERA and 1.109 WHIP in 23 games against the NL; 3-1, 2.84 ERA, 1.263 WHIP in six games in 2018).   

The Mets with Cespedes likely out of the season could use another OF, and LaMonte Wade is available an knocking at the MLB door.  Wade, yet another lefty hitting and throwing OF, hit .298/.393/.444 in AA Chatanooga last season, but only .229/.337/.336 in AAA Rochester, bring with him good plate discipline, a solid glove in all 3 spots, and a deadly bat against RHPs (.281/.391/.409 in both AA and AAA in 2018).  He will be an asset in the Mets' bench and occasionally in their lineup in 2019.

Here you have it:  RHP Zack Wheeler and an empty spot on the Twins' 40-man roster for RHP Jake Odorizzi and OF LaMonte Wade.

With this proposed trade as well as the previously proposed free agent signing , the Twins rotation in 2019 will look like:

RHP Zack Wheeler
LHP Patrick Corbin
RHP Jose Berrios
RHP Kyle Gibson
RHP Michael Pineda/LHP Adalberto Mejia

On paper, this is a rotation that can match up with any team in the league, which is the goal...


Unknown said...

You are one of the few posters who recognize the need for adding two starters above Berrios/Gibson if the Twins even want to be considered in the same breath as Houston, Boston, Cleveland and NY. I agree completely that the Mets represent a great opportunity and assuming DeGrom and Syndergaard are virtually untouchable, either Wheeler or Matz should be a top priority for the Twins(Matz would be my preference just by the fact he is a southpaw but either one would slot in #1 0r 2.

Your trade scenario, however, is woefully short, IMO, of offering a reasonable chance of reaching an agreement. For starters, the Twins are going to have to part with either Sano or Kepler for starters, with maybe Gordon , Rooker, or Romero as the second part of any trade, and perhaps either Odorizzi or Mejia as the third piece of the puzzle. The Mets will need at least one major leaguer and 1-2 top 10 prospects to give up the most prized commodity in the offseason - a top of thye rotation starter.

As for your earlier choice of signing Corbin as a FA, that I'm afraid is too much of a reach. It simply is not in the Twins' DNA to outbid the big boys for arguably, the top FA starter. It will not happen, I'm afraid. But there are two other veteran trade targets the Twins can more reasonably go after - Grineke or Baumgartner, either of whom must surely be available for a strong minor league package, depending on how much money the Twins want back from AZ or SF. But this is far more dozble than Corbin and either would slot in above Berrios/Gibson to give the Twins a formidable starting four!

thrylos98 said...

What brings down Wheeler's value is that one year of control. I think that he and Odorizzi are very close as NL pitchers. Odorizzi's numbers are ridiculous at the NL.

That said, I would not mind sending them Kepler and Gordon instead of Wade, in addition to Odorizzi. On the other hand I don't think much of Kepler and Gordon.

Wheeler is not DeGrom as far as value goes.

I don't think much of Greinke; I would bet that Gibson does better in the AL than him next season. Too much loss in velo and really depends on his secondary stuff. He has become a junkballer.

Madison Bumgarner is 29 but he is pitching like he is 39. Not durable. K-BB% has plummeted

If the Twins were given that much $ to Darvish last season, I see no reason not to give it to Corbin.