The Twins made a move to buy at the beginning of last week, but a calamitous trip through California caused the front office to reevaluate their position. I think it ended up being the position that they preferred to be in, frankly. The front office knew they weren’t going to be one of the top teams in the league this year, and likely not next year, unless they could acquire some young pitching to develop for the near future. Free agency doesn’t often fix pitching staffs, after all.
So the Twins did just that, against the protestations of players like Brian Dozier. Jaime Garcia was sent to the Yankees for a pair of pitchers, while Brandon Kintzler was sent in a 1-1 swap with the Nationals. Though it was not a typical sell off type of trade, the Twins also traded John Ryan Murphy to Arizona for a starting pitcher. Of all the wheeling and dealing done by the Twins in the past couple of weeks, only one position player, catcher Anthony Recker, came to the Twins.
The best of those prospects was, according to prospect charts, Zack Littell, who came from the Yankees when the Twins traded Garcia to New York. The righty is known for his ability to mix pitches and find the strike zone. In the minors, that plays out to a lot of strikeouts. In the majors, that profiles a lot like Adalberto Mejia, who I’ve already said is the second best pitcher in the rotation right now, behind Jose Berrios.
The second best prospect is similar in skill set to Littell, though not nearly as refined at this point. Tyler Watson came from Washington, and may one day throw harder than Littell, but today is not that day. He is 6’5, which is why there is hope for some strengthening for Watson as he gets older. He will also need to develop another pitch if he wants to be successful.
The other two pitchers the Twins grabbed also seem like intriguing prospects. The other pitcher in the Garcia trade was Dietrich Enns, who was immediately sent to Rochester. He’s old for a prospect, but it’s hard to say he has struggled. He’s had good results at every level, after becomng a pro in 2012 at age 21, which is old for that level. He’s progressed just fine, just a bit later in life than is standard. He is close to a Major League spot, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him before the year is through.
Lastly, the Twins grabbed Gabriel Moya from Arizona for Murphy. He is a double A closer, and has been very good in that role, with a miniscule ERA and a massive K rate. Given his limited stamina, there will always be reservations about his ceiling, but if the Twins are comfortable with Moya in short bursts, he could very well be seen as soon as next year, popping up in the bullpen. He certainly has the numbers of a quality reliever.
The Twins weren’t going anywhere this year, not after they stumbled in the past week, and the front office wasn’t afraid to make some moves to salvage some expiring contracts. This bodes well for the team’s future, that they are comfortable making moves the previous administration may have been less comfortable with. Perhaps the Twins are ready to begin executing Derek Falvey and Thad Levine’s plan, exiting the evaluation period. It will be interesting to see what they have in mind next.