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4 trade targets who could help turn the Twins into true World Series contenders

Do the Twins need more pitching to be a true contender?

At this point, everyone is well aware of how lethal the Twins' offense is. Even when they plug in guys we've never heard of like Luis Arraez, he finds a way to rake at the plate.

However, when things transition to October, offense takes a backseat to pitching and it's fair to question if the Twins have enough of it if they reach the playoffs. With that, here are three starting pitchers the Twins should target if they want to bolster their starting rotation.

Marcus Stroman

Stroman has spent his entire six-year career with the Blue Jays. The 28-year-old is 2-6 this year with an ERA of 2.81 in 64 innings, with 55 strikeouts and 25 walks.

He's rebounded this season after a disastrous 2018 where he battled injuries and posted an ERA north of five.

The good news is, he probably wouldn't command top prospects, but Toronto won't be giving him away for peanuts either.

He'd be a solid upgrade in the back half of the rotation as Michael Pineda has been struggling and Kyle Gibson has been inconsistent. 

Stroman, who has been linked to the Twins by MLB.com, is also under team control through 2020, so he'd be sticking around with the Twins beyond this season, if they were to acquire him.

Noah Syndergaard

The Mets' right-hander who goes by the nickname "Thor" would be an ideal potential ace for any team thinking about winning the World Series, and he might be on the market because the Mets are fading fast in the NL East. 

The 6-foot-6 right-hander has been in the trade rumor mill for a couple of weeks now, most recently being linked to the San Diego Padres. Even though the 26-year-old hasn't produced the strikeout rate (2018 in 183.2 innings) during his 2016 All-Star season, he's still a frontline starter with big-time potential, not to mention a 100 mph fastball. 

Syndergaard only makes sense if the Twins are willing to give up some high-end prospects. For example, the speculative report that mentions the Padres as a suitor for Syndergaard says San Diego might have to part with left-hander Mackenzie Gore, the No. 8 prospect in all of baseball who was the third overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft.  

It's doubtful the Twins would trade top prospect, shortstop Royce Lewis, but what about outfielder Alex Kirilloff or starting pitcher Brusdar Graterol, who has a 100 mph heater and is doing good things at Double-A Pensacola?

Syndergaard is under team control for two more years, and after making $6 million this season his price tag should remain low enough that it'll cost even more – in the form of prospects – to get him. 

Stephen Strasburg

The Nationals are heading towards a rebuild and will likely be selling off pieces by July and Strasburg might be someone teams could come calling for.

The 30-year-old right-hander is 4-3 this season with an ERA of 3.52 in 65 innings. He's struck out 82 batters and issued 16 walks. His 0.985 WHIP is the best figure of his career.

However, Strasburg possesses one of the strangest contracts in Major League Baseball. He signed a seven-year, $175 million deal in 2016 but his average annual breakdown changes each season. For example, he's on the books for $38 million this season, after making $18 million in 2018.

Noted agent Scott Boras orchestrated his contract, which gives the pitcher opt outs after this season and in 2020. 

Although, it's worth noting that if Strasburg doesn't opt out after this season, his contract is worth just $100 million over the next four years. Here's his base salary for the next four seasons if he doesn't opt out of his deal. 

  • 2020: $25 million
  • 2021: $15 million
  • 2022: $15 million
  • 2024: $45 million

There's also deferred money in play from 2024-2030 that will likely pay him after he retires.

Again, super weird contract that might scare off some teams but there's no denying the guy is an ace. If the Twins are all-in on being legitimate contenders, acquiring a player like Strasburg makes sense at the right price and commitment level. 

Madison Bumgarner

Bumgarner will likely be the most intriguing and sought-after trade acquisition this summer. The Giants are in the basement of the NL West and the left-hander will be a free agent after the season.

He's already provided a seven-team no trade list, most of them being potential playoff teams. 

  • Atlanta 
  • Boston 
  • Chicago Cubs 
  • Houston 
  • Milwaukee 
  • New York Yankees 
  • Philadelphia 
  • St. Louis

Bumgarner knows San Francisco will be shopping him, so this gives him more leverage with who he wants to pitch for. Considering the Twins aren't on his list, Minnesota should already be engaging in conversations for the postseason ace.

With three World Series rings to his name, Bumgarner is the most tested postseason pitcher in baseball. He's pitched 36 innings in the World Series and has allowed one run. That's it. One run.

Fast forward to this season and the 29-year-old has made 10 starts with an ERA of 4.21 in 62 innings to go along with 64 strikeouts and 11 walks. 

Even though he'll be a free agent after the season, he should be aware that getting the lucrative deal he wants might be hard to come by.

Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel still haven't landed contracts because of their perceived demands. Their situations might help the Twins and any other club in future negotations with a player like Bumgarner. 

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