When I said the Diamondbacks were one of the biggest disappointments in baseball this year, I had to hold back from saying THE biggest. That title likely belongs to the Minnesota Twins.
They’ve been one of the better teams in the American League for a number of years now, and were expected to be back in the playoff mix again this year. That hasn’t happened at all, and right now the Twins are sitting fourth in their division at just 21-30 and they’re already 10.0 games behind the Chicago White Sox for the AL Central lead.
Unless their fortunes change in a hurry, they might be a team that Ross Atkins is calling on a regular basis. In particular, I could see the Blue Jays having a lot of interest in a pair of veteran starting pitchers in Kenta Maeda and Jose Berrios.
Maeda might be tough to pry from the Twins, as he still has two years remaining on his current bargain of a contract. He’s struggled to a 5.27 ERA and a 1.477 WHIP over his first nine starts this season, but he has a long enough track record of success that banking on a bounce-back would make sense. It’ll come down to price, and likely how he performs over the month of June, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Twins could float him to potential trade suitors.
As for Berrios, he has just one more year on his current deal and will be a free agent after the 2022 season. That timeline might work quite well for the Blue Jays, especially as they see the emergence of Alek Manoah, who will hopefully be joined by Nate Pearson at some point as the future faces of the rotation. A guy like Berrios would work very well sliding in between Hyun Jin Ryu and Robbie Ray, and would give the Blue Jays a more formidable playoff rotation for this year, and next. The right-hander has been one of the lone “bright spots” for the Twins this year, with a 3.67 ERA and 1.154 WHIP over his first nine starts. He makes 5.6 million this season and will be arbitration eligible for the 3rd time this offseason.
It’s a shame that Josh Donaldson has two years and 42 million on his deal after this season, or he could be another fun veteran to pursue for a reunion. Instead, the Jays might have some interest in relievers like Alex Colome or Hansel Robles depending on how they’re throwing a month from now. If they’re looking for more “depth” options for the rotation, the Twins will likely be selling familiar faces like Matt Shoemaker and J.A. Happ, although I’m not sure either offers an upgrade at this point.
The Twins could turn things around and change the conversation, but more likely they’re going to be sellers this summer, and one of the Blue Jays should keep an eye on.