Blue Jays: What the Twins might have to give in a trade

Feb 27, 2020; Dunedin, Florida, USA; Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Tyler Duffey (21) throws a pitch during the fourth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at TD Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 27, 2020; Dunedin, Florida, USA; Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Tyler Duffey (21) throws a pitch during the fourth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at TD Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Blue Jays could use some reinforcements for their MLB roster, and it’s getting to be that time of year where the trade market starts to heat up. With that in mind I thought it might be interesting to take a look at the roster of one the more likely sellers from the American League, the Minnesota Twins.

At 26-41 heading into Wednesday night’s game, the Twins have been arguably the most disappointing team in baseball this year. There was an expectation that they would at least compete for the AL Central division, and somehow they’ve fallen to the basement, even worse than the rebuilding Detroit Tigers.

Chances are good that the Twins are going to be firmly in a selling position, and there are a handful of players that would make a lot of sense for Ross Atkins to pursue on that trade market. The obviously area of need would be in the bullpen, and while the Twins don’t have a premium closer that they’re likely to deal (I doubt they’ll trade Taylor Rogers), there are a few arms worthy of at least looking at.

I’ll start with one with a veteran that’s had a terrible first season in Minnesota, and someone that they’d likely trade without asking for much in return. The original plan was for Alex Colome to take over as the closer and allow Rogers to work in more of an eighth inning/fireman role, but unfortunately their new bullpen piece hasn’t worked out at all.

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Across 25 appearances Colome has posted a 5.48 ERA and a 1.652 WHIP over 23.0 innings. It’s been ugly for the 32-year-old, and he’s one of many reasons this team hasn’t performed up to expectations. That said, he was outstanding for the White Sox in 2020 with a 0.81 ERA and 0.940 WHIP with 12 saves, and we all know how much the Jays believe in pitching coach Pete Walker’s ability to get the most out of talented arms. The biggest hurdle would be figuring out who is going to pay what’s left of his 6.25 million dollar contract for this season, but otherwise it’s worth a look.

As for veteran relievers, that’s not the only option from the Twins’ bullpen that might fit in Toronto. Hansel Robles has plenty of late-inning experience from his time with the Angels, and he’s turned around a slow start to his 2021 campaign by throwing a lot better lately. He has his ERA down to 3.03 and WHIP to 1.28 after his improved recent performance, and there’s reason to believe he can keep it up. His expiring contract is a lot more palatable as well, as he signed for just one year and two million with the Twins.

The third bullpen arm that catches my eye in Minnesota is Tyler Duffey, who admittedly has also disappointed this year with a 4.32 ERA and a 1.360 WHIP across 25.0 innings. He was quietly excellent over the last two years (1.88 ERA and 0.792 WHIP over 24.0 innings last year), and has another year of contract control. Making just 2.2 million before hitting arbitration for a third and final time this offseason, Duffey might be able to help now and again in 2021.

After that the Twins have a few different types of trade options in their starting rotation. Looking veteran on an expiring contract? You could roll the dice on Micheal Pineda (who is on the IL right now), or yet another return from J.A. Happ. There’s also Jose Berrios, who has a season and a half left on his contract before becoming a free agent, but would require a fairly hefty return. Finally there’s Kenta Maeda, who many thought would be among the American League’s top starting pitchers. Instead he’s posted a 5.01 ERA and a 1.459 over 10 starts and 46.2 IP this year, but could be a great bounce-back candidate to gamble on. Even with his down performance he would still command a hefty return due to his potential, and the bargain basement price of his contract.

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If not for two years and 50 million still guaranteed to Josh Donaldson, the former Blue Jays MVP would be a fun name to add to the list. Alas, that’s not going to happen, and I don’t think the Jays would still pursue a guy like Andrelton Simmons either, unless they planned on using him at third. In my mind the obvious place to look on the Twins’ roster, and pretty much anywhere else, is for help for the pitching staff.