The clock's ticking on the MLB July 31st Trade Deadline, which is just five days away.
Minnesota is in peculiar position for the first time in recent memory as they're 20 games over .500 and on top of the AL Central Division. However, the Cleveland Indians are now breathing down their necks just two games back of the lead.
If the Twins are serious about holding off the Indians and wanting to keep up with the Yankees and Astros, they have to be buyers at the deadline. Here's six targets they should consider acquiring.
1. Marcus Stroman and Ken Giles, Toronto
The Twins could improve two areas with one move if they were to acquire both Stroman and Giles.
Stroman has bounced back to his 2017 form – where he was a Cy Young candidate. In 21 starts this season, Stroman is 6-11 with a 2.96 ERA in 124 innings to go along with 99 strikeouts and 35 walks. He doesn't rack up as many strikeouts as you'd might like but at the end of the day, he gets outs.
Meanwhile, his teammate Ken Giles is a shutdown reliever who's struck out 42 percent (58 strikeouts against 137 batters) of the batters he faced this season.
It's probably unlikely that acquiring both players would cost top prospects Royce Lewis or Alex Kiriloff, but No. 4 prospect Trevor Larnach (who teams have been reportedly been asking for ) or big-time power hitting prospect Brent Rooker (No. 7 prospect) would be the focal the point of a trade.
It's also worth noting both Stroman and Yates are under team control through the 2020 season.
2. Kirby Yates, San Diego
After struggling to an ERA north of five for the first three years of his career, Yates has turned into one of the most dominant relief arms in baseball.
Over the past two seasons with the San Diego Padres, Yates has allowed just 20 earned runs over his hast 106 innings while picking up 160 strikeouts to just 26 walks.
He also leads the national league in saves (31) this season, so he could be a potential closing option for the Twins.
Hopefully the Twins don't overpay for him like they did in 2010 when they traded a top 3 prospect in Wilson Ramos for Matt Capps, which blew up in their face. However they obviously need bullpen help and Yates is exactly what they're looking for.
3. Mychal Givens, Baltimore
Side armer Mychal Givens would be a low-cost efficient acquisition for the Twins.
In 34 games with Baltimore this season, Givens owns an ERA of 4.28 but has picked up 55 strikeouts in 40 innings. The spike in ERA is due to the face he's had a bit of a problem keeping the ball in the ball park and he's allowed nine home runs in 40 innings, where last year he allowed just four long balls in 76 innings.
If he can keep the ball in the yard, he'd be a solid option in later innings. Over his past 16 innings, Givens has 24 strikeouts and opponents have hit just .143 against him in that span.
Most importantly, he probably won't a cost a top-10 prospect either.
4. Edwin Diaz
Diaz is in a similar boat as Givens. In his first season with the Mets he owns an ERA of 4.81 but that's due to the fact of three really rough outings – out of 43 – that ballooned his numbers.
In those three outings he allowed 12 combined runs.
- June 13, 2 innings, 3 earned runs
- June 27, 0.1 innings, 5 earned runs
- July, 5 0.1 innings 4 earned runs
If you take away those outings, he's allowed just 9 earned runs in 37.2 innings (2.18 ERA). He's a power pitcher who's struck out 61 batters this season and he's a season removed where he finished 8th in Cy Young voting when he was with the Seattle Mariners
However, because of his struggles this season, his value probably isn't as high as it was a year ago. Maybe he'll cost just a fringe top-10 prospect but he is under team control through 2022.
5. Noah Syndergaard
If the Twins want to make a statement and push all their chips to the middle of the table, making a move for hard-throwing Noah Syndergaard is it.
The Mets aren't just listening for offers, they're reportedly open to moving him and New York is obviously asking for a haul in return.
La Velle E. Neal III of the the Star Tribune reports there's already been discussions between the Mets and Twins and New York has asked for both Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff.
Both are top-30 prospects in all of baseball and it's unknown if the Twins would be willing to part with both prospects.
Syndergaard is also under team control for two seasons through 2021, so it's understandable why the Mets are asking for the moon and stars in return.
The acquisition of Syndergaard would be franchise-altering move for the Twins as they've never pulled off a trade of that magnitude at the deadline before.
Obviously the Twins need pitching help and anyone on this list would help the Twins become a deeper team in the postseason.