The Minnesota Twins have had a promising start to the season, with the inside track to win the AL Central. These five players should be on their trade radar.
Spurred by a new, aggressive, homer-happy approach offensively, and starting pitching that has mostly been top-notch, the Minnesota Twins have one of the best records in baseball and are beginning to separate from the pack in the AL Central.
Barring a complete collapse, the Twins will be buyers as July’s trade deadline approaches. Pitching seems to be the top need, with over-achievement in the starting rotation worth noting and a bullpen that has shown cracks beyond a few reliable guys.
Injuries could always open up other needs, and it’s worth mentioning designated hitter Nelson Cruz (wrist) and catcher Mitch Garver (leg) are on the injured list at present.
The Twins have a couple of top prospects (Royce Lewis, Alex Kirilloff) who are surely off-limits in trade talks. But any other prospect in the pipeline has to be in play, as well as any pieces on the Major League roster who could be deemed as extraneous, if adding a notable piece is legitimately on the table.
With a tilt toward one area right now, here are five players the Twins should have on their radar to acquire over the next several weeks.
5. Chris Archer, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates
When Chris Archer pitched for the Tampa Bay Rays, the Twins had some rumored interest in him. His stock has dropped since that point though, including a 5.58 ERA over six starts for the Pirates so far this season. His next scheduled start is coming Tuesday night against the Colorado Rockies.
Since being acquired at last year’s trade deadline, Archer has a 4.77 ERA over 16 starts for the Pirates. But his strikeout rate is still high (10.0 K/9 this season), with control as his core issue (4.7 BB/9 so far this season). So far in 2019, his first-pitch strike rate has dropped to 56.4 percent.
The Archer trade looks bad for the Pirates right now, with what Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows look set to become for the Rays. So they may want to “win” a deal to part with him a year later, but they won’t have the leverage to demand a top prospect from the Twins for Archer unless he starts pitching a lot a better.
With what they’ve done with Martin Perez this year, as a shift in his pitch mix and a tweak in his mechanics has essentially created a new pitcher, the Twins may see some similar reclamation appeal in Archer. And there should be an opportunity to buy-low, even though Archer has never been as good as he should or seemed he could be.
RHP Chris Archer
IF Yunior Severino