It's no secret that the Twins are looking for starting pitching this offseason. The free agent market looks like it is filled with plenty of intriguing arms but there could be other ways of acquiring hurlers. Another way of accomplishing this task could be to trade away current MLB players or minor league prospects for the services of a starting pitcher. There have been rumors of the Twins inquiring about a couple of different starting pitchers but a new name has emerged on the market.
Word leaked out earlier this week about the Arizona Diamondbacks possibly being ready to shop top pitching prospect Trevor Bauer. It sounds like there is a division between Bauer and the D-Backs over his future with the club. Of course, it would take a lot to acquire a 21-year old pitcher with a ton of upside. If they are truly willing to shop Bauer, there will be plenty of interest from multiple clubs.
Bauer was the third pick of the 2011 amateur draft out of UCLA. During this past season, he made his debut with Arizona and he got roughed up in his four appearances before being sent back to Triple-A. His numbers in the higher levels of the minor leagues have very good as he has a low 2.42 ERA and 157 strikeouts in 130 innings pitched. Bauer made it to the big leagues in less than a year and he still has plenty of potential.
The one downside to Bauer looks like his command of the strike zone because he gave up 61 walks over his 130 minor league innings in 2011. During his small sample size in the major leagues, he averaged almost a walk an inning. This doesn't sound like the type of pitcher Terry Ryan and the Twins would target. It doesn't fit the mold of soft throwing strike throwers but it could be time for Minnesota to go in a different direction.
For Minnesota and Arizona, finding trade pieces could be tough for a couple of different reasons. The one area of surplus for the Twins is in the outfield and Arizona has so many outfielder that they are trying to trade away Justin Upton after already parting ways with Chris Young. This means the Twins could save their surplus in the outfield for a different trade but it also means the Twins would have to part with some of their top prospects.
The results were not so good the last time the Twins traded a top prospect for pitching. Wilson Ramos looked to be ready to break-out at the major league level but the Twins sent him to Washington for Matt Capps. A trade with the D-Backs would take on a different light because Minnesota would be trading for a rising star in the pitching ranks and not a closer with mediocre stuff. This still leaves questions about what the Twins could send away from their prospect ranks.
In my preliminary Twins prospect list for this offseason, there are some very good players at the top of the list. Would the Twins be willing to part with a couple of their top 10 prospects to get Bauer? How about a couple of players in the top 5? Which players would you say are untouchable?
1. Miguel Sano, 3B (Age 19)
2. Byron Buxton, OF (Age 18)
3. Aaron Hicks, OF (Age 23)
4. Oswaldo Arcia, OF (Age 21)
5. Eddie Rosario, OF/2B (Age 21)
6. Kyle Gibson, RHP (Age 25)
7. Jose Berrios, RHP (Age 18)
8. Travis Harrison, 3B (Age 20)
9. Max Kepler, OF (Age 19)
10. Joe Benson, OF (Age 24)
It could take quite the haul to bring in Bauer so it doesn't seem likely for the Twins to empty out their farm system for the chance to acquire a young starting pitcher. The upside of Bauer is enough to get fans excited about the chance of him joining their organization this offseason. A deal might not be likely at this point but the right combination of prospects could make this trade a reality.
If you were in Terry Ryan's GM chair, what would you offer? And would it be enough? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.