There are two conflicting reports on Wednesday morning regarding the Twins' interest in Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner.
First, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported the Twins are "showing strong interest" in acquiring Bumgarner.
Then, Jeff Passan of ESPN followed up that San Francisco has interest in dealing Bumgarner, but the Twins haven't engaged with the Giants in high-level talks with Bumgarner.
However, Passan did mention that Giants closer Will Smith is indeed on the Twins' radar.
Smith is as nasty as they come and would automatically be the best arm in Minnesota's bullpen. In 32 games this season, Smith has a WHIP of 0.766, while striking out 40 percent of the batters he's faced and allowing just seven runs (2.01 ERA) in 32 games this season.
This isn't the first we've heard about the Twins inquiring about Giants pitchers.
Earlier this month, Jim Bowden of The Athletic suggested the team should be targeting both Bumgarner and Smith. Even Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press said, "The Twins are moving closer to trade for Bumgarner." on June 15.
Regardless, both Smith and Bumgarner are free agents by season's end, so they would be rental players.
Bumgarner's coming off a strong start, where he struck out 11 batters against the Rockies on Tuesday, June 25. In 17 starts this season, the three-time World Series winner is 4-7 with an ERA of 4.21 in 102.2 innings pitched, with 104 strikeouts and 24 walks.
The Twins' starting staff has been one of the best rotations in the league, here's how they rank among American League teams:
- 3.74 ERA (3rd)
- 1.18 WHIP (3rd)
- 23.3 K% (6th)
- 1.18 HR/9 (2nd)
Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi have a lot to do with those statistics and even though Kyle Gibson has been solid, Martin Perez has started to struggle a bit and Michael Pineda certainly doesn't look like an arm to trust in the postseason. In 15 starts, Pineda has an ERA of 5.02 and has surrendered 15 home runs in 15 starts.
So even though Bumgarner might not be as dominant as he once was, he certainly would add better depth to the starting rotation.
What Minnesota's willing to give up remains unclear. They certainly have position players to offer like Nick Gordon (11th best prospect) or Brent Rooker (7th best prospect) who are both putting up solid numbers at Triple-A Rochester.
Brusadar Graterol is the team's top pitching prospect but he's currently on the shelf with a shoulder injury and it's unknown if the Twins would be willing to part with him for two rentals.
With the MLB Trade Deadline just a little over a month away – July 30 – it seems the Twins are at serious about adding to their roster to solidify their postseason chances.