Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Trade barriers

My Tuesday long-distance monitoring of the winter meetings opened with Twitter chatter of a supposedly specific trade offer involving the Twins, and ended with general manager Thad Levine downplaying the notion of a trade because of the rise of analyics.

The latter idea is that more formulas and fewer old-style scouts means a narrowing of opinions on what specific players are worth. And at its heart, trading is about different opinions of player value. If everybody pretty much agrees that Player X is worth 10 and Player Y is worth 13, the team with Player Y isn't going to make the deal.

That said, there will be trades made. Some, probably most, will be at least partially financally driven -- salary dumps a la Giancarlo Stanton. A variation of the salary dump is moving a player a team knows it won't re-sign -- the Brian Dozier trade the Twins didn't make last winter. Such trades are often discounted, which is why the Twins didn't pull the trigger.

Anyway: Tuesday morning's rumor involved a package of prospects -- Nick Gordon, Tyler Jay and Zack Granite -- supposedly going to Pittsburgh for Garrit Cole, who has two years left before free agency.

Assuming the accuracy of that package, I might do that were I running the Twins. As I see it:

  • Gordon lacks the power to be a quality regular shortstop, and the Twins have plenty of shortstops above and behind him
  • Granite might become a Denard Span-type leadoff hitter/centerfielder, but it won't be with the Twins for lack of opportunity, and as a left-handed hitter he's not even a particularly good fit on this roster as a fourth outfielder
  • Jay has had trouble staying on the mound.

The obvious drawback to swapping those three for a front-of-the-rotation starter is organizational depth. There isn't opportunity now for Granite, but what if an outfielder takes a significant injury?

I can also see the Twins shying away from including Jay in a trade. Subsitute a lower-ceiling pitcher and it becomes more palatable. (Make it Kyle Gibson and throw in the money for his contract and it becomes a lot easier for me to pull the trigger -- but Pittsburgh might not go for that.)

1 comment:

  1. I don't have a clue whether the Twins should have made this trade(assuming it was even offered) but I rather disagree with you on Gordon. I don't particularly think power is the largest factor in whether he can be a quality major league regular shortstop.

    He has shown an increase in power as he has progressed through the Twins system. He may also have more as he matures. I actually think that whether he can be a quality major league shortstop is more on the defensive side of the ball. The other question is which of the number of shortstops in the system, is most likely to be the best long term answer at shortstop. If that person is not Gordon, then Gordon is likely a trade chip. Gordon could also be shifted to 2nd, but it seems that there maybe a number of middle infield prospects who seem to have more offensive upside(including Polanco). This also assumes that Dozier will not be with the Twins long term.