Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Three trades the Minnesota Twins need to make right now: Part II

Yesterday, in the first part of this series, I suggested that the Twins trade Danny Santana, Mike Tonkin and Jake Reed to the Oakland Athletics for Ben Zorbrist and Tyler Clippard; and to promote Jorge Polanco as their starting shortstop.   This will address the shortstop and right hand set up positions.  They Twins would need to address their Catcher deficiency and they need another lefty in the pen to complement Brian Duensing, who has been unhitable this month, and his season numbers been victimized by a .448 Target Field BABIP.   I do not believe that 27 year old Ryan O'Rourke with 18 innings pitched above AA, including his current stint with the Twins, is the answer to this position for a contender.   The Twins will solve that problem and the catcher problem in this trade.

Trade Number 2:

Tommy Milone and Jason Wheeler to the Phillies for C Carlos Ruiz and LHP Jake Diekman 

Why would the Twins do it?



Carlos Ruiz on paper is a aging catcher who is overpaid (singed until 2016 with about $12.5 million left in his contract) and under producing (.227/.316/.303 with a 74 OPS+).  However, one needs to look closely at his production:  In High Leverage situations, he is  8/27 with a .296 Batting Average, 5 BB and 3 K.  He is hitting LHPs at a  .276/.392/.448 pace.  He is someone who thrives in competitive situations and someone who makes a team better.  Pitchers love to throw to him.  Defensively he is average, which is not something that can be said for the current Twins' starting catcher.  Jake Diekman, whom I am certain is an unknown to most Twins' fans, will be in his first year of arbitration next season and had some inconsistency and butted heads with the previous Phillies manager, enough to be demoted to the minors.  He will be arbitration eligible in 2016 for the first time.  He is 28.  So what is there to like?   His 96-98 mph fastball, coupled with one of the most devastating lefty change ups in the business.   The Phillies could see beyond his 5.19 ERA and the fact that he allowed 31% of the runners he inherited to score.  His 3.40 FIP, 27.4 K% and .394 BABIP indicate that he is a prime candidate for a change of scenery.  He does have closer stuff.   Giving away Tommy Milone, in addition to being an addition by subtraction, bringing the Twins' FIP leader, Trevor May, back to the rotation, is a cash balancing move.   He is making close to $3 million this season and he will be in the second season of arbitration next season.   Jason Wheeler is a 24 year old LHSP with a career 36-26, 3.60 ERA (3.56 FIP), 1.362 WHIP, 6.2 K/9 record in 96 minor league games, who occupies a 40 man roster spot for the Twins, and does not have much future in the organization, other that a long reliever or bottom of the rotation starter.


Why would the Phillies do it?

The Phillies are rebuilding and they are in full fledged SALE mode, with the upcoming change in Front Office leadership.  They will be saving enough money and getting a couple of young arms who they can potentially plug in their rotation right away and rely on them.  Milone's staff might work better in the National League.  Wheeler is a fastball, slider, changeup pitcher, with fastball being his best pitch and runs in the low 90s but with a lot of controllable movement.   If one of his secondary pitches improves, he can actually be a serviceable starter or a bullpen piece, for a system that is really depleted of prospects.




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