Don’t turn your attention from the 2018 Minnesota Twins just yet. The Twins still have things to learn, and they may still have some trades left to make.
The July non-waiver trade deadline gets most of the hype, but as we saw last season, August trades can happen and sometimes they can even impact a World Series.
MLB Trade Rumors published a list of 20 August trade candidates, and 3 current Twins players made the list. Fernando Rodney, Ervin Santana and Logan Morrison all are candidates to be traded, says MLBTR. They also added Addison Reed as an “honorable mention.”
MLBTR called it a “mild surprise” that Rodney wasn’t dealt, even though he has a $4.25 club option for next season. The list speculated that it’s “all but certain” Rodney would be claimed if he’s put on waivers.
Here’s what we wrote about Rodney last week in our own August Trade Candidates post:
The Fernando Rodney Experience has been mostly good for the Twins but it’s had its frustrating moments. The first month in particular was lousy, which probably sticks around in the minds of followers longer because it takes a while for even a good reliever’s numbers to recover.
Since May 1, Rodney has pitched 32 innings with a 37:13 strikeout-to-walk ratio (27.8% strikeout rate) and a 2.81 ERA. At just $1.4 million the rest of the way — plus a $4.25 million option next year or a quarter-million-dollar buyout — the ageless closer is also relatively affordable. The trouble with trying to trade Rodney, I guess, is that every contender already appears to have a stacked bullpen. Rodney could slide into the 7th or 8th inning if a contender was looking to lengthen its list of relief options this August. Maybe in the event of an injury. Short of that, would the Twins be better off just keeping Rodney, making the call on the option this November, and if they bring him back, assigning him to the 7th or 8th inning next year? The prospect return in a trade likely would be minimal.
MLBTR says that because of Santana’s salary, it’s “quite likely” he would clear waivers if the Twins put him through that process. His buyout would be for $1 million next year, if the Twins decide they’ve got enough starting pitching to pass on paying $14 million to a 36-year-old starter coming off an injury wrecked year.
Here’s what we wrote about Erv last week:
Santana’s odyssey back to the big leagues is well-documented. He’s back now, and appears to be pitching with a diminished fastball from what we saw out of Erv last year. He’s got a couple of starts under his belt, and that would have to be enough for a team to want to take a risk on him, since the post-surgery body of work isn’t extensive.
He’s owed about $4.6 million the rest of this year and has a team option for $14 million next year. I’d probably turn down that 2019 option if I was the Twins, so let’s assume he’s in a free-agent walk year for any club interested in the services of the veteran former rotation rock. If he makes 10 starts the rest of the way, is that worth the money to some team out there? Or, would that contract allow Santana to slip through waivers and become a tradeable commodity again?
Trade Rumors called the rest of Morrison’s contract “steep” given his production this season, but said that he could make an “intriguing bench/platoon bat for the right contender.”
The 30-year-old lefty slugger is hitting just .190/.282/.377 with 15 home runs this year in 351 plate appearances. He gets shifted routinely because of his pull-heavy approach at the plate. And MLBTR points out that Statcast data suggests that Morrison is hitting the ball better than his surface-level stats give him credit for. (They point to a big disparity between his Expected Weighted On-Base Average and his actual wOBA.)
Here’s what we said about Morrison last week:
Morrison has not been what Twins fans were hoping for when their favorite team landed a 38-homer breakout slugger during spring training. He was expected to get a bulk of the plate appearances at DH and spell Joe Mauer from time to time at first base, all while delivering on the improved power he showcased in Tampa Bay last season.
Instead, he’s hitting .193/.290/.383 with 14 home runs as a DH and part-time first baseman. Even if his batted-ball profile and expected Weighted On-Base Average would suggest there’s some bad luck working against him, thsoe are not the offensive numbers he would hope to see roughly two-thirds of the way through the season. He’s owed roughly $1.8 million the rest of the year with an $8 million option for next year, or a $1 million buyout. There are also some plate-appearance-based incentives that he could reach. So the August question becomes: Would a team claim him at about $2.8 million for two months of a lefty power threat? And what would the Twins do with the roster spot if he was no longer on the team?