Last year the Minnesota Twins were supposed to be challenging the Indians for supremacy of the American League Central. While they finished in second in the division, they also finished with a 79-84 record. This was the worst second place finisher in the MLB, four games behind the Nationals.
The Twins have been building talent for a while and after their surprise playoff run at 85-77 in 2017, many believed they would only fair better in 2018. With players like uber-prospect Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Jose Berrios and Miguel Sano, it was all but certain that they would improve. Unfortunately for the Twins’ faithful, almost every one of their major prospects regressed and Buxton so much so that he was demoted for most of the season.
To add insult to injury, the last of the old guard and one of the greatest Twins of all-time Joe Mauer retired recently.
That brings us to the title of the piece. With the loss of Mauer, there is nearly no protection for these young players throughout the lineup. Instead, they will all be vulnerable and if one gets into a slump it could spread across the entire lineup. Adding an incredible player like Paul Goldschmidt would not only give Minnesota and amazing cornerstone piece but, he would make this entire lineup better.
Everyone knows that the Diamondbacks are looking to start rebuilding and it is clear that Paul Goldschmidt is on the trading block. The Diamondbacks are going to want young talent to start their rebuild and there may not be a better franchise with a need at first-base to trade with than the Twins. With years of saving up talent through the draft and trading older players, the Twins need to take advantage of that and make a major move.
Minnesota gets: Paul Goldschmidt
Arizona gets: OF Alex Kirilloff (#2 prospect for MIN), INF Nick Gordon (#4 prospect for MIN), and RHP Jhoan Duran (#23 prospect for MIN).
If only Paul Goldschmidt was not an unrestricted free agent in 2020. Then they would be able to get so much more. That being said this is a pretty nice haul for the Diamondbacks.
Kirilloff is a great lefty bat that has good pop but his biggest asset so far is his ability to put the bat on the ball. While it may only be in A and A+ ball, Kirilloff hit .348 in his first season. Looking at his overall season of 44 doubles, 20 home runs, 101 RBI and 38 walks to 86 strikeouts along with this batting average shows that Kirilloff has a ton of potential.
The brother of Dee Gordon, Nick is a very well-rounded prospect. He can hit for average, shows signs of some gap power and is a solid fielder. Because of this, he should be ready to make a transition to the MLB even though he struggled in AAA last year. Gordon offers a lot for being only 23 and thus there is still room for him to grow. He is seen more as a high-floor than a high-ceiling type player, but that does not mean that can’t cant make an impact on a club looking to rebuild. Solid high-floor players bring a lot less risk in trades like this.
Duran is a very interesting prospect. He would actually be coming back to the Diamondbacks after being acquired by the Twins in the Edwardo Escobar trade. He is a big kid with a mid-90s heavy fastball, a good breaking pitch and a decent changeup. With these attributes, he looks similar to a Tyson Ross and many feel he has the potential to be a solid middle to back-end rotation pitcher. The Diamondbacks know of his talent and if his time with the Twins, 2.00 ERA in six starts at A ball, shows anything, this 20 year old could make his way through the system quickly.
As stated before, getting Goldschmidt seems to be a no-brainer for the Twins. He would be able to take over for Mauer and allow Sano to be a full-time designated hitter or if absolutely necessary move back to third base. His prowess alone should give the Twins a good chance at taking on an Indians team that might be getting gutted this offseason. Not to mention that while the Twins are giving up quite a bit they still get to keep the likes of shortstop Royce Lewis, RHP Brusdar Graterol, LHP Stephen Gonslaves, and all the talent they already have in the majors.
This likely will not be the only move the Twins will need to make, as getting some help pitching wise should also be a top priority. Also, expect the Twins to negotiate an extension with Goldschmidt or even have one in place for when the deal is done.
With the Winter meetings coming up soon, expect to see Goldschmidt moved and the Twins making moves to take the AL Central.
NOTE: C.J. Cron claimed after the writing of this article.
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