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Are the Twins and Giants inching closer to a trade?

Talks of Bumgarner to the Twins are heating up.

As the summer months wear on, it appears the MLB trade rumors are too. Over the weekend, the Twins' connection to Madison Bumgarner picked up a bit.

Jim Bowden of The Athletic on Friday (paywall) suggested the Twins should be targeting Bumgarner and Giants closer Will Smith for the price of top pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol, as well as infielder Nick Gordon (10th-ranked Twins prospect).

On one side, that's a lot to give up for two players who are rentals and will be free agents at season's end. However, the Twins obviously need help both in the starting rotation and the bullpen, and both players would be welcomed additions.

In 15 starts, Bumgarner is 3-6 with a 3.87 ERA in 93 innings to go along with 90 strikeouts and 20 walks.

Meanwhile, Smith is one of the best relievers in the game. Over the past two seasons, the left-hander owns an ERA of 2.42, a WHIP of 0.931 and has struck out 113 batters in 81 innings.

Locally, Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press followed up on the report saying that insiders "say the Twins are moving closer to a trade with the Giants for left-handed starter Madison Bumgarner." 

Darren Wolfson of KSTP piggybacked off what Walters reported and said the talks are "premature but I also have no doubt that it's worth monitoring even closer moving forward."

So even if the talks are in the preliminary stages, this appears to be a good sign if you're hoping for the Twins to be buyers at the trade deadline.

The bigger question: How long will the Twins wait to pull off a trade? 

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Usually, if contenders are looking to acquire players before the deadline – which is six weeks away – the price tends to be higher now. If they were to wait closer to the July 31 deadline, then it might not cost as much, which was something Jayson Stark alluded to on SKOR North 1500-AM last week.

The Twins enter Sunday, June 16 with the best winning percentage (47-23, .671) in the MLB, as well as a 10-game lead in the AL Central.

If the Twins were to acquire two players like Bumgarner and Smith, it would show the rest of the American League they're serious about making a World Series run. 

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