Category Archives: Minnesota Twins

Twins trade Garcia to the Yankees

Starting Pitcher Jaime Garcia only made one start for the Twins and now he is being traded once again as Minnesota traded him to the New York Yankees in exchange for minor league pitching prospects Dietrich Enns and Zack Littell.

 

Twins analysis/grade:

The Minnesota Twins just gave a prospect in order to acquire Jaime Garcia from the Braves and he looked good in his one start against the Athletics. However, Garcia didn’t last long with the Twins as the team just traded him to the Yankees after only acquiring him a few days earlier. Minnesota is certainly getting a couple of really good pitching prospects in return for Garcia. Dietrich Enns is definitely the closest of the two prospects to reaching the major leagues. Enns is currently pitching at Triple-A mostly as a starting pitcher where he has been very good as he has a 1.99 ERA this season. Enns isn’t a hard-thrower, but he has outstanding pitch control which is why he is on the verge of making his MLB debut. He has a 1.87 career ERA in 6 minor league seasons which is amazing considering that he was a 19th round pick of the Yankees in 2012. Enns might be a good bullpen option for the Twins and it is possible that he could make his MLB debut this season. Minnesota also acquired 21-year old right-handed starting pitcher Zack Littell in this trade. Littell has had a very impressive 2017 season as he is 14-1 with a 1.93 ERA in High-A and he has a very good 3.24 career ERA in 5 minor league seasons. Littell can throw mid-90’s with his fastball and his recent success can be attributed to an improved changeup and curveball. If Littell continues pitching very well like he has this season then he could make it to the majors in a few years and he could be good starting rotation depth for the Twins. It is strange that the Twins would trade away Jaime Garcia right after they had just acquired him. However, this was ultimately a good trade for the Twins as they are getting two very good minor league prospects to help them continue to build for the future.

Grade: B+

 

New York Yankees analysis/grade:

The New York Yankees are once again playoff contenders mostly because of their improved offense and a somewhat improved starting rotation. However, the Yankees needed some more starting pitching depth which is why they added Jaime Garica. He is having an average season in 2017 as he is 5-7 with a 4.29 ERA, but he will be a good 5th starter in the Yankees rotation. The Yankees could even move him into the bullpen if they decide that Jordan Montgomery would fit best in the 5th spot in their rotation. Garcia is not an elite starting pitcher, but he still improves the team by adding much more depth to their rotation. New York gave up two quality prospects in order to acquire Garcia and that is why this trade isn’t as good for the Yankees, but Garcia should help the Yankees even if it’s just for a couple of months.

Grade: C

jaime garcia twins

Twins acquire Jaime Garcia from the Braves

The Minnesota Twins added to their rotation depth on Monday as they acquired starting pitcher Jaime Garcia and catcher Anthony Recker in exchange for minor league starting pitcher Huascar Ynoa.

 

Twins analysis/grade:

Minnesota has amazingly stayed in the thick of the american league playoff race this season after having an awful 2016 season. However, the team’s pitching depth has been a major issue for Minnesota as they have lacked a good 3rd option in their rotation behind Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios. Jaime Garcia will provide much needed starting pitching depth for the remainder of the season for Minnesota as they look to remain competitive in the AL central and in the AL wild card race. Garcia is having a decent season as he had a 4.30 ERA for the Braves this season and the Twins are hoping that he can continue to stay consistent. The Twins also acquired catcher Anthony Recker in this trade and he will add some much needed catcher depth for Minnesota behind starting catcher Jason Castro. Recker will likely spend most of his time in Triple-A, but he could compete with Chris Gimenez for the backup catcher role with the Twins. There is no doubt Jaime Garcia makes Minnesota’s rotation better, although the Twins are still building towards the future and they should be acquiring prospects instead of selling them off. This is a decent trade for Minnesota since they are making their team more competitive, but giving up a talented young prospect just isn’t worth it.

Grade: C+

 

Braves analysis/grade:

The Braves are an improved team this season, but they are still not competing for a playoff spot this season which is why it made so much sense to trade away Jaime Garcia. He is set to be a free agent after the season and it wasn’t likely he would return to the Braves anyway, so it made sense to get a decent young prospect in exchange for him. Right-handed pitcher Huascar Ynoa was the 22nd ranked prospect in the Twins minor league system and he is only 19 years old which means he still has some more time to improve. Ynoa has a good fastball and an average changeup, but he just needs to control his pitches better. He has a 5.26 ERA in 6 starts this season in Minnesota’s minor league system. It certainly isn’t encouraging for him to be struggling that much in rookie ball, but it is still a small sample size and he still has time to improve. Ynoa is an intriguing prospect and if the Braves can develop him effectively then he could be a decent player one day. Jaime Garcia made the Braves rotation better, yet it wouldn’t have meant much to have him on their team since the Braves aren’t competing for a playoff spot and he will be a free agent this offseason. This is a good trade for the Braves, although it remains to be seen the type of player that Ynoa becomes in a few years.

Grade: B-

jaime garcia

Biggest need remaining for every AL Central team

Chicago White Sox – Biggest need: Centerfielder

This team has needs all over the place especially after trading away Adam Eaton and Chris Sale this offseason. However, the centerfield position seems to be a complete mystery for the White Sox heading into 2017. Adam Eaton was supposed to be in that role, but now that he was traded away then the team doesn’t have much left. Charles Tilson and Leury Garcia will compete for the starting job, but neither player has much MLB experience. Tilson has only 2 at-bats at the MLB level and Garcia has had a little more experience, but he is a career .188 hitter in 308 at-bats. Tilson figures to be the starter as of right now, although it would be smart for the White Sox to bring in a more experienced centerfielder as a temporary solution.

Cleveland Indians – Biggest need: Centerfielder

Cleveland doesn’t seem to be interested in re-signing last year’s starter in centerfield Rajai Davis, so it likely means the team will have a new starter at that position in 2017. Tyler Naquin is projected to be the team’s starting centerfielder, but he hit only .174 in 23 at-bats for Cleveland last season. The Indians should probably bring in some more depth at the position because who knows how well Naquin will perform as the everyday centerfielder.

Detroit Tigers – Biggest need: Centerfielder

The Tigers traded away Cameron Maybin who was the starter in centerfield for the team last season. However, the issue is that the team hasn’t found a decent replacement for Maybin as they are projected to have the inexperienced JaCoby Jones as the starter in 2017. Jones only has 28 career at-bats and he has only hit .214, so it is a complete unknown as to how well he’ll play at that position. The team also has Tyler Collins and Anthony Gose as options in centerfield, but neither of those guys is exciting.

Kansas City Royals – Biggest need: 2nd base

The Royals have 3 young players that could win the starting 2nd base job for the Royals in 2017, but none of the players are great options. Whit Merrifield will probably be the starter at 2nd base, but he only has one career season of experience as he hit .283 with 2 home runs. Christian Colon and Raul Mondesi both have more experience than Merrifield, but Mondesi is just a .185 career hitter and Colon is a .268 career hitter. Kansas City should at least add a veteran 2nd baseman in order to compete with Merrifield.

Minnesota Twins – Biggest need: Centerfielder

It wasn’t too long ago that centerfielder Byron Buxton was the top prospect in all of the MLB, but he has struggled tremendously to start his career. Buxton had 10 home runs with a .225 average last season for the Twins and the team is hoping that he can develop some more in 2017. Buxton can make remarkable defensive plays at times in centerfield, but it doesn’t matter much if he can’t produce consistently on offense. Danny Santana is a decent backup, but he isn’t nearly as talented as Buxton is. The Twins should sign a veteran centerfielder just in case Buxton struggles again in 2017.

Twins sign Jason Castro to a 3-year deal

Minnesota pulled off an acquisition for one of the most coveted catchers available this offseason as they signed Jason Castro to a 3-year/$24.5 million deal. This certainly is shocking signing considering that the Twins weren’t active at all last offseason. However, I do really like this signing for Minnesota. First of all, the Twins starting catcher Kurt Suzuki became a free agent this offseason which meant that they would probably have to find a replacement for him. Suzuki is a decent catcher and he provides some offensive production, but it’s clear that the Twins would have to replace him soon since he’s 33 years old. Castro certainly is an overall upgrade at the catcher position for the Twins mostly because of his defensive skills as a solid pitch framer which is a unique ability that he provides. It’s also really hard to find a catcher that can contribute with some offensive production as well. Castro only hit .210 last season which isn’t good at all, but he did show a lot of power in his 113 games played as he hit 11 home runs last season. We know Castro will always have really good power for a catcher, but he will need to boost his batting average and become a more consistent hitter. Castro certainly has a lot of talent as he was an all-star player just a few years ago for the Astros when he hit .276 with 19 home runs during the 2013 season. Minnesota will at least be getting a good defensive catcher and a player that can hit some home runs. However, if he can regain his consistent hitting then this signing is really good for the Twins. Some people are acting like paying Castro $8 million a year is overpriced. However, I actually think that it’s a team-friendly price to pay a really talented catcher in a really weak market for catchers. This signing is even better for Minnesota because it is symbolic in showing that they are willing to make the acquisitions to improve their team. They didn’t improve their team in any area last offseason and it really showed since they were one of the worst teams in the MLB in 2016. We’ll see if Castro can improve his consistency offensively next season and if he does then this signing could provide big rewards for Minnesota.

Grade: B+

jason-castro

Free Agent that every AL Central team should re-sign.

Chicago White Sox – Alex Avila – Catcher – 2016: .213 avg. and 7 home runs

Alex Avila isn’t even close to being the all-star caliber catcher that he was during the 2011 season with the Detroit Tigers. However, Avila still has pretty good power for a catcher and he is still probably worth the White Sox re-signing because he can be a useful backup catcher at least. It’s difficult to find quality catchers these days and bringing back Avila at least as a backup would be a good move since he will be cheap to re-sign and he still has a lot of talent even though he has struggled in recent years.

Cleveland Indians – Mike Napoli – 1st baseman – 2016: .239 avg. and 34 home runs

Napoli was probably the one player that turned Cleveland from not just a playoff contender, but rather into a world series team. Napoli hit 34 home runs last season and he was the consistent power source that the Indians had been lacking in previous years. Napoli is 35 years old which means he won’t be getting a very long deal this offseason, yet it is worth it for Cleveland to keep him for at least another year or two.

Detroit Tigers – Jarrod Saltalamacchia – Catcher – 2016: .171 avg. and 12 home runs

In no way should Jarrod Saltalamacchia be a starting catcher on any team in the MLB. However, he still has a lot of value as a backup that has a ton of power left in his bat as proven by his 12 home runs despite receiving a part-time role. The average for Saltalamacchia is horrible as he hit .171 for the Tigers in 2016. However, he can be brought back at a cheap price and he could be useful coming off the bench.

Kansas City Royals – Greg Holland – Relief Pitcher – 2016: None

Holland didn’t play at all last season because he had Tommy John surgery on his throwing arm. However, when he is healthy, Holland has proven that he can easily be one of the top relief pitchers in all of the MLB. He is effective either as a setup man or a closer, but he would provide even more stability to the Royals bullpen at a bargain price. Kansas City has a tremendous bullpen even without Holland, but the Royals should definitely consider re-signing him since they will be getting a top-end relief pitcher for a cheap price. I have no idea how the Royals could possibly turn that down.

Minnesota Twins – Kurt Suzuki – Catcher – 2016: .258 avg. and 8 home runs

Kurt Suzuki has never been a flashy player, yet the one thing that he has always provided is consistent offensive production. Consistency is the main thing that Minnesota is lacking at pretty much every position which is why there a terrible team last year. However, it’s hard to find a more reliable catcher than Suzuki these days and combine that with the veteran leadership that he provides the Twins and they would be foolish to let him go.

 

AL Central Preview and Predictions

Chicago White Sox – 2015 Record: 76-86

Notable offseason additions:

SP Mat Latos(From Los Angeles Angels), C Alex Avila(From Detroit), OF Austin Jackson(From Chicago Cubs), 3B Todd Frazier(From Cincinnati), 2B Brett Lawrie(From Oakland), and C Dioner Navarro(From Toronto)

Notable offseason subtractions:

C Tyler Flowers(To Atlanta), 2B Gordon Beckham(To Atlanta), SS Alexei Ramirez(To San Diego), and SP Jeff Samardzija(To San Francisco)

Analysis: Chicago made quite a few acquisitions to try and improve their team this year. First of all, Todd Frazier is an all-star caliber player that will be great in the middle of the White Sox lineup to provide some support for Jose Abreu. However, for the offense to really be successful they will need production out of guys like Melky Cabrera and Adam Eaton who both struggled last season. Also, the White Sox have a pretty good pitching staff led by clear number 1 starter Chris Sale. If they can get some consistency from the back end of their rotation then that would make Chicago really good. David Robertson is a really good closer, but besides him the White Sox bullpen could really struggle. We know that Frazier, Abreu, and Sale will all produce for Chicago in 2016. However, they will need more production besides them if they want to compete in the AL Central.

Prediction: 4th place in the AL Central

Cleveland Indians – 2015 Record: 81-80

Notable offseason additions:

RP Tommy Hunter(From Chicago Cubs), 1B Mike Napoli(From Texas), 3B Juan Uribe(From New York Mets), OF Rajai Davis(From Detroit)

Notable offseason subtractions:

3B Chris Johnson(To Miami) and SP Gavin Floyd(To Toronto)

Analysis: Cleveland doesn’t have a loaded offense and now that all-star outfielder Michael Brantley will miss a big portion of the 2016 season then the team could really be starving to score runs. The Indians will need 2nd basemen Jason Kipnis and other position players to really step up in Brantley’s absence. Meanwhile, I’m not very concerned about Cleveland’s starting rotation especially at the top with Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, and Danny Salazar. However, the 4th and 5th starters will have to become more consistent if the Indians aren’t scoring many runs. Cleveland’s bullpen is in decent shape especially with closer Cody Allen who had 34 saves in 2015. I’m not convinced that Cleveland’s pitching can make up for the lack of offense, so they will need at least somebody to step up while Brantley is injured or else this team could be in deep trouble.

Prediction: 5th place in the AL Central

Detroit Tigers – 2015 Record: 74-87

Notable offseason additions:

OF Cameron Maybin(From Atlanta), SP Jordan Zimmermann(From Washington), RP Justin Wilson(From New York Yankees), RP Mark Lowe(From Toronto), SP Mike Pelfrey(From Minnesota), OF Justin Upton(From San Diego), and RP Francisco Rodriguez(From Milwaukee)

Notable offseason subtractions:

SP Alfredo Simon(To Cincinnati), OF Rajai Davis(To Cleveland), and C Alex Avila(To Chicago White Sox)

Analysis: I really like what Detroit did this offseason because they improved their team in a variety of ways. The team already had Miguel Cabrera, J.D. Martinez, and Ian Kinsler in their lineup heading into this offseason. However, they made their offense even more dangerous with the addition of power-hitting outfielder Justin Upton. Also, the signing of Jordan Zimmermann provides the team with a top of the rotation starting pitcher that will help improve a pitching staff that wasn’t very good at all last season. ┬áHowever, the main issue for the Tigers in 2015 was definitely their bullpen. They made big improvements to their bullpen by acquiring Mark Lowe and Justin Wilson to be their 7th and 8th inning guys. Not to mention, Detroit also traded for Francisco Rodriguez who has been one of the most reliable closers. This team has improved in basically every area and it is ready to be a world series contender once again.

Prediction: 1st place in the AL Central

Kansas City Royals – 2015 Record: 95-67

Notable offseason additions:

RP Joakim Soria(From Pittsburgh) and SP Ian Kennedy(From San Diego)

Notable offseason subtractions:

2B Ben Zobrist(To Chicago Cubs), RP Ryan Madson(To Oakland), and SP Johnny Cueto(To San Francisco)

Analysis: The Royals are reigning world series champions and even though they did a good job of keeping key players like Alex Gordon with the team they still lost a couple of key players this offseason. Kansas City basically has the same exact lineup as last season, so you can expect to continue to see solid offensive production. The bullpen figures to be the strength of the team in 2016 as Kelvin Herrera, Luke Hochever, and Wade Davis are all returning to their late-inning roles. The bullpen might even be better after the Royals signed proven late-inning guy Joakim Soria. The only thing that I see holding Kansas City back is their starting rotation. Edinson Volquez is a reliable number 1 starter, but besides him it is unclear what Yordano Ventura and Ian Kennedy will give the team as top of the rotation starters. Both players have tons of talent, but they struggle with consistency and the bullpen might not be able to succeed if the Royals starters aren’t keeping games close. This team is still basically the same as it was last year, but ultimately the lack of a quality starting rotation drops them to 2nd place in the AL Central in my opinion.

Prediction: 2nd place in the AL Central

Minnesota Twins – 2015 Record: 83-79

Notable offseason additions:

1B Byung Ho Park(From South Korean team)

Notable offseason subtractions:

SP Mike Pelfrey(To Detroit), OF Aaron Hicks(To New York Yankees)

Analysis: The Twins surprised us all last season with 83 wins, but the issue is that they didn’t make their team much better this offseason. I’m excited to see what young outfielders Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano can do in 2016 and they will be a key component of the Twins offense. Of course, Minnesota will really need Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer to step up like they did last season in order to score runs. I think the Twins offense has a chance to be very good this season. However, the bullpen and the starting rotation really concerns me. Closer Glen Perkins is one of the most reliable closers in the MLB as he had 32 saves, but besides him the bullpen isn’t looking very good at all. Meanwhile, the pitching staff is just as much of a mess. Phil Hughes is the team’s number 1 starter and yet he only had 11 wins and a 4.40 ERA in 2015. The Twins offense will clearly carry the load like it did last season, but if they want to improve last year then somebody in their pitching rotation and bullpen must step up.

Prediction: 3rd place in the AL Central

miguel cabrera