Sixteen days from the July 31 MLB trade deadline and the Minnesota Twins' rumor mill has gotten fairly quiet, although some of the game's most well known reporters are tracking the rumor mill closely.
Among them, USA Today's Bog Nightengale, who says the Twins have been "one of the most active teams on the trade landscape the past month, inquiring about anyone and everyone."
"They have been one of the most active teams on the trade landscape the past month, inquiring about anyone and everyone, scouts say. They should make the playoffs with or without a major deal, but if they’re actually serious about playing deep in October, they’ll grab a starter and a reliever.
All it took was money when Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel were on the market, and they passed.
Now, it’s going to cost them some of their finest prospects if they’re going to grab pieces to compete with the Yankees and Astros in October."
The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal didn't throw out any buzzing trade talks, but he did write this about the Twins in his Monday column (paywall):
"The Twins made a statement by winning the first two games in Cleveland over the weekend and nearly storming back in the third, extending their lead over the Indians to 6 1/2 games with the series victory. Their principal need is a late-inning reliever to pair with Taylor Rogers, but they also are in the market for a controllable starter, with Kyle Gibson, Jake Odorizzi, Michael Pineda all free agents at the end of the season. A big move or two by Derek Falvey and Thad Levine, and the Twins will stand a decent chance of winning their first postseason series since 2002."
Remember when Rosenthal wrote an article a month or so ago saying the Indians and Twins could be perfect trade partners in a deal that would send starting pitcher Trevor Bauer to Minnesota?
Well, that idea – it was speculation and nothing more than an idea – might be dead because ESPN's Buster Olney and Tim Kurkjian are now of the belief that the Indians could trade Bauer before the July 31 deadline and still contend for a playoff spot.
Olney said on his Baseball Tonight podcast Monday that the Indians "really need to trade Bauer now because his trade value will really drop after the deadline."
He explained that Bauer will likely get a raise via arbitration that will pay him $18-$20 million next season, and the Indians can't really afford to keep him if they also have to find ways to sign Francisco Lindor, Carlos Santana and other key players.
Plus, Olney and Kurkjian agree that once Bauer's salary goes up there won't be nearly as many interested teams.
The problem is that if Cleveland believes it can compete for a playoff spot, there's no way they'd deal Bauer to Minnesota and risk getting beat by him in the postseason. Right?
Because the Twins took two of three in Cleveland over the weekend, they've increased their lead to 6.5 games in the AL Central. That definitely takes the pressure off the Twins to make an immediate trade, which might've been the case had the Indians trimmed the lead from where it was before the series began (5.5 games).
That's good news, because a lot of teams still aren't ready to push the sell button because the wild-card races are so tight. Among the teams hanging on the edge are the Giants, who are just 4.5 games out in the NL race.
Minnesota has been reported to have interest in Giants pitchers Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith, but they might not be dealt until the deadline if the Giants deal them at all, according to Nightengale.