Minnesota Twins: 5 Trade Partners the Twins Should Call
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In a division as weak as the American League Central, a comeback is possible but is very unlikely, and in reality, should be avoided.
The Twins have a limited amount of top quality prospects in the minor league system, so this season should be about trading away veteran players to replenish the farm.
Yesterday, I highlighted five players the Twins should trade, and today I will highlight five teams the Twins should call about making some trades.
Toronto Blue Jays
Minnesota reliever Jared Burton
The Toronto Blue Jays have only nine saves in 17 opportunities. The Jays bullpen is posting a 4.39 ERA, which is bad enough to have them ranked 28th in the league.
If the Jays want to have a chance to compete in the powerful AL East, they are going to need to shore up their bullpen, and the Twins have just the players they need.
Matt Capps or Jared Burton could be a good fit for the back end of the Jays bullpen.
As for assets the Jays could part with—well, there are plenty.
Justin Nicolino is the Jays sixth-ranked prospect, a left-handed starting pitcher, who is playing in Single-A right now. He has pitched in 12 games, starting six of them, working 43 innings with 39 strikeouts.
His ERA is a 1.47 with a 0.95 WHIP.
Kevin Comer is the Jays 15th ranked prospect and has a ton of upside. A 19-year-old right-handed pitcher who, according to MLB.com, has a plus fastball, a curveball that will be a plus and can throw a changeup.
Both Comer and Nicolino would provide the Twins with pitching prospects who are projected to be top of the rotation type starters, something the Twins desperately lack.
Minnesota starting pitcher Francisco Liriano
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The Colorado Rockies have the second worst ERA by starting pitchers this season. They started the season with Jamie Moyer as their fifth starter, but he was released on June 3, according to CBSSports.
They do have a fantastic young pitching prospect they are being patient with in Drew Pomeranz, and at some point this season they are hoping to get Jorge De La Rosa back from the DL after undergoing Tommy John surgery last season.
Liriano could be used as a starter for the Rockies or used in the bullpen, which hasn't been great for the Rockies this year, either.
The prospect the Rockies have that best fits the Twins' needs is 20-year-old catcher Will Swanner. Swanner is hitting .336/.407/.648 at Single-A Asheville, currently.
Swanner may not be great defensively, according to MLB.com, but with at least two more years in the minors in his future, he certainly has time to improve it. He is the 15th ranked prospect for the Rockies.
Trevor Story might be another possible prospect candidate for the Twins to focus on. The 19-year-old plays a position that he has basically no chance of breaking into Colorado's lineup playing because it is Troy Tulowitzki's home.
While it is certainly possible he could move to second or third, the Rockies do also have a pretty impressive prospect who plays third.
Story might end up being traded for that fact alone. He is hitting .291/.383/.571 at Single-A Asheville right now and shows great defensive tools.
Minnesota outfielder Denard Span
Not only is that a problem, but so is the production they have gotten from the corner outfield spots. For players playing right field this season, they are hitting .233/.266/.390 and for left field it is even worse at .207/.253/.338.
Denard Span could immediately go into that lineup and help the Pirates to their first winning season since 1992.
The Pirates 16th ranked prospect, Alen Hanson, could be a fit for the Twins. He is 19 years old and plays second base and shortstop. Right now for Single-A West Virginia, he is hitting .328/.385/.572 with 15 stolen bases. Another added benefit of Hanson is that he is a switch-hitter.
Chicago White Sox
Rochester third baseman Danny Valencia
The Chicago White Sox are currently using Orlando Hudson as their starting third baseman. At 34 years old and in his 11th big league season, he had never started a game at third base before signing with Chicago.
When you have production at third that reads .167/.242/.207, it is understandable to take a player who was released by the San Diego Padres because he was hitting .211/.260/.317 and try to make it work (via CBS Sports).
However, given Hudson's age and the White Sox lack of prospects at third base, they might be a team willing to take a chance on Danny Valencia.
While the return might not be very high, the Twins could almost certainly land Scott Snodgress.
Snodgress is a left-handed pitcher who was a reliever in college but has been used as a starter since becoming a pro. Through 11 starts this season, he has worked 54.1 innings with a 4.80 ERA for the Kannapolis Intimidators. He has 44 strike outs, but has also walked 33 as he attempts to learn a third pitch.
With his apparent inability to control a third pitch, he is almost certain to find himself working as a reliever.
New York Mets
Minnesota first baseman Justin Morneau
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The Mets have gotten paltry production from whoever is manning first base with a split that reads .174/.251/.286 (via ESPN).
The Mets have a lot of pitching prospects, one of whom is Michael Fulmer. The right-hander is pitching for Single-A Savannah and has a 3.92 ERA in 43.2 innings pitched and 41 strikeouts.
According to MLB.com, he has a very promising power arm with a fastball that clocks in the mid-to-upper 90s. A good power arm could be a very nice change of pace from the finesse pitchers the Twins typically employ.
Cory Mazzoni and Juan Urbina are two other pitching prospects the Twins could look into from the Mets if Morneau continues to show signs of being the player who won the 2006 AL MVP award.