Why the Twins front office missed the perfect opportunity

The 2019 trade deadline was the perfect time to make a splash.
Publish date:
Target Field

The MLB trade deadline has passed and the Twins came away with another reliever in Sam Dyson from the San Francisco Giants, who had a less than stellar debut against the Marlins on Thursday.

Dyson, as well as the recently acquired Sergio Romo, was all the adding Minnesota felt they needed to do.

Meanwhile the Houston Astros – arguably the best team in the league – came away with former Cy Young winner Zack Greinke, who will be behind Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, while parting with its third, fourth and fifth best prospects. 

They gave up a lot, which is something the Twins had the power to do, even if it wouldn't have been for Greinke, who reportedly had the Twins included in his no-trade clause. 

Minnesota boasts one of the best prospect pools (8th by MLB.com) in all of baseball and if that's all Greinke cost – plus a significant salary, of which the Diamondbacks covered some of – the new-ish Twins' front office didn't come through on their end.

Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey told a gaggle of reporters just before the deadline that owner Jim Pohlad approved an increase in payroll on the idea of adding a player with a heftier contract and that no prospect was untouchable.

Only one of the three players acquired in the Houston-Arizona trade was a top-100 prospect and that was Seth Beer, who's exactly the 100th-best prospect in the MLB.

Meanwhile, the Twins have five of the top 100 prospects in baseball. 

  1. Royce Lewis (No. 7)
  2. Alex Kirilloff (No. 16
  3. Brusader Graterol (No. 58)
  4. Jordan Balazovic (No. 82)
  5. Trevor Larnach (No. 97)

However, the Twins were reportedly linked to starting pitchers like Marcus Stroman, Madison Bumgarner, Robbie Ray, Zack Wheeler, Matthew Boyd and even Noah Syndergaard.

When asked about the price of Ray, who's a strikeout machine in Arizona, MLB Insider Jayson Stark told SKOR North (1500-AM) the Diamondbacks were looking for three prospects in return.

"Robbie Ray's price was your best big-league ready prospect and two other prospects. So a guy you could plug in the big leagues right now."

Well let's assume Luis Arraez was the big-league ready piece plus Balazovic and Larnach. Arraez is hitting .357 in 42 games which probably isn't sustainable, plus with how good the Twins' lineup has been this season he's expendable.

That means your top three prospects in Lewis, Kirilloff and Graterol would've remained in the system and the Twins would've drastically improved the starting rotation, not only this year for a big playoff push, but for 2020 as well. 

Meanwhile, Arizona would get exactly what they were looking for while also receiving two top-100 prospects.

Following the trade deadline, Dan Hayes of The Athletic reported on Thursday that teams who had rentals (like San Francisco with Bumgarner and reliever Will Smith) were asking about Arraez.

Even when the Mets acquired Stroman, who was another candidate who could've helped the Twins, the price of admission was New York's fourth- and sixth-best prospects.

Again, if that's what the market was commanding for two front-line starting pitchers, the Twins just struck out twice with the bases loaded.

Maybe the Mets were asking too much for Noah Syndergaard, but Ray, Bumgarner, Wheeler and Boyd were other targets Minnesota could have bolstered their rotation with.

I'm of the belief that Lewis and Kirilloff will end up being big-time contributors to the Twins at some point down the road, so I understand if they were untouchable. But how long have fans been told to sit back and wait a couple of years when the prospects now help turn the Twins into the team to beat?

Minnesota's window for a deep playoff run is wide open after a phenomenal start to the 2019 season.

But now the Cleveland Indians are breathing down their necks in the division and even though the New York Yankees and Astros might be more established, this was a chance to make a statement that they're going to be the team to beat in October.

Right now they are on the cusp of being the team to beat. This franchise (and this state as a whole) hasn't seen a championship parade that isn't for the Lynx in almost 30 years. 

When Falvey and Levine were hired, they were two executives who had never worked in the Twins organization before. They were tasked with turning around a team that seemed to be stuck in the dark ages when it came to scouting, analytics, etc.

And even though they've done an excellent job of improving those departments, this trade deadline was a chance to break the mold of vanilla-based moves.

Instead, they seem to be putting more focus at looking beyond this season (which yes, is still part of the job) instead of addressing the here and now.

Maybe Falvey and Levine will end up having the last laugh that they were indeed in the right to add just two above-average (but not elite) relievers as the final piece to a playoff run.

But as someone who's defended these two tooth and nail during their short tenure, the trade deadline was incredibly disappointing.

Next Up

Eddie Rosario

Report: Twins place Eddie Rosario on outright waivers

The outfielder's time with the team appears to be coming to an end.

radio station, microphone

Christian music broadcaster revealed as buyers of Go Radio

Educational Media Foundation. operates the K-Love brand, which has a presence already in the Twin Cities.

Screen Shot 2020-12-01 at 5.04.39 PM

St. Paul police chief reportedly fires officer who shot naked, unarmed man

Chief Todd Axtell said the officer's use of force was not reasonable.

Trevor May

Report: Trevor May leaving Twins to sign with Mets

The right-hander will sign a two-year deal to head to New York

Car crash

'Grim' milestone: Minnesota's traffic deaths reach 364, tying 2019 total

“With fewer vehicles on the road during the 2020 pandemic, the loss of life on Minnesota roads is beyond disappointing."

Devin Weiland

Charges: Albert Lea man, 21, fired around 90 shots at police, residents

Weiland was arrested after a standoff that lasted more than eight hours.

Body storage warehouse

Body storage warehouse 'ready if needed for COVID-19 fatality management'

The warehouse is currently storing PPE and testing supplies.


Signs come down at Giordano's restaurant in Uptown

It appears the restaurant has closed for good.

State Capitol.

Walz eyes COVID-19 relief package totaling $300-$600 million amid budget surplus

The state forecasted a budget surplus for the remainder of the biennium.

Bar beer

Walz non-committal on extension of restaurant, gym closures

He has suggested that the ban on mixing with people outside your household could continue over Christmas.


Luis Arraez

5 Twins prospects who are most likely to be traded

Minnesota will have plenty to offer at the trade deadline.

Twins could get aggressive at this year's trade deadline

Will the Twins make a splash at this year's trade deadline?

Twins could get aggressive at this year's trade deadline

Will the Twins make a splash at this year's trade deadline?

Rocco Baldelli

Dyson blows it in debut, Twins get walked off in Miami

It was a rough debut for recently acquired Sam Dyson.


Why the Twins should target Syndergaard or deGrom

Either ace would improve the rotation dramatically.

Blake Snell

Why the Twins should consider trading for Blake Snell

Snell is one year removed from a Cy Young season.