After Nathan Eovaldi agreed to a multi-year deal with the Texas Rangers, it became official that the Minnesota Twins would have to look to the commercial market to add a playoff-caliber starting pitcher. Sure, they could always sign a free agent who improves the background of the rotation, but that doesn’t do much to raise the ceiling on a team desperate for upside.
Finding a front-row starting pitcher that another team would be willing to part with is not an easy task. But the Twins need a boost, and they have some interesting trade credentials that other clubs might want. Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle and Joe Ryan provide solid mid-rotation expectations, but it would be hard to call one of the three infallible aces. If the twins want to get one of these highly sought-after products, they’ll have to shell out a pretty penny. Here are three deals that could work for both parties.
Tampa Bay Rays trade RHP Tyler Glasnow for OF Max Kepler, RHP Bailey Ober and RHP Simeon Woods Richardson
As many clubs have discovered over the years, trading with the Rays can be quite dangerous. Their trades often seem even at the time, but almost always end up working in Tampa Bay’s favor when all is said and done. The arrival of Glasnow in central Florida is a prime example. The Pittsburgh Pirates included him in their package for Chris Archer – a deal that became one of the most lopsided trades in the game in recent memory.
Glasnow offers frontline starting expectations if he can stay healthy. He made his long-awaited return to the big league hill last year after a grueling 14-month recovery from Tommy John surgery. Steamer projects the big right-hander to pitch 111 innings in 2023 with a 3.20 ERA and a dazzling 11.5 K/9. It would be a welcome sight for a Twins rotation ranked 23rd in baseball with just 7.6 K/9s.
It would cost the Twins a superfluous veteran outfielder in Kepler, who is a virtual certainty to be dealt with at this point. He still holds value based on his stellar outfield defense and two years of affordable team control. The package includes two other higher potential assets in Ober and Woods Richardson. The Rays have a penchant for acquiring and developing more pitchers than any other baseball organization. This return offers at least 11 years of combined team control over two arms that are already set to enter a big league rotation, or at least close to that point.
Los Angeles Dodgers trade RHP Dustin May for IF Jose Miranda, OF Matt Wallner and RHP Jordan Balazovic
This one is a huge one. May is one of the most enticing young arms in baseball, and he comes with three years of control of the club through arbitration. It won’t be cheap. Not only is he 25 years old and about to enter the prime of his career, but he’s already shown he has some swing-and-miss tricks at the MLB level. Steamer projects him to have a 3.66 ERA in 121 innings pitched with a stellar 3.4 K/BB ratio. With an average fastball speed over 98 MPH (even after Tommy John’s surgery), it’s easy to see May facing rotation for years to come.
That would come at the expense of two of Minnesota’s purest power hitters in their organization. Miranda debuted in 2022 and established himself as a mid-range type bat who might struggle to find a defensive home. The Twins penciled him in as Day 1 third baseman, so they would have to come up with a contingency plan. That should probably come from the select free agent market. Prospects like Austin Martin, Edouard Julien and Brooks Lee will start the year in the minor leagues. But setting up a fictional third baseman would be digestible as long as it brings in an ace-level starting pitcher.
Minnesota would also give up a homegrown product with a big bat in Wallner. He made his major league debut in 2022, but the Forest Lake native finds himself looking on the outside as the Day 1 roster takes shape. The plethora of left-handed sluggers makes it somewhat expendable. Balazovic is just another element in the deal after a few difficult seasons in the upper tiers of the minor leagues. The hope is that a healthy fresh start to a season can put him back on track as a promising prospect, but the jury is still out on the young southpaw.
New York Yankees trade RHP Frankie Montas and IF Gleyber Torres for Kepler, IF Edouard Julien and RHP David Festa
This exchange finally answers the question that Twins fans have been asking for almost two years. To finish, here is Frankie. He was a deadline acquisition by the Yankees at last year’s deadline, and he struggled with his new club. A return to a small-to-medium sized squad rather than the bright light of the Big Apple could benefit the right-hander. He had a brutal 6.35 ERA with New York after a strong 3.18 ERA effort at Oakland. The deal also includes Torres, who has only played six games at shortstop in 2022 but may deserve another look there as a stopgap until Royce Lewis is ready to take over. Regardless of his defensive home, Torres’ bat has still held firm in 2022, where he cut .257/.310/.451 (115 wRC+) with 24 homers.
The Twins would drop Kepler, who has long been a known Yankee target. They would also drop Julien, whose star prospect really started to shine in 2022, capped by a fantastic effort in the Arizona Fall League, where he cut .400/.563/.686 in 21 games played. . Festa is a bit further down the line but offers high upside after throwing to the tune of a 2.71 ERA in 16 appearances (13 starts) at High-A.