LHP Brad Hand
Finally, the Twins make a HUGE move for a closer. A guy that can consistently finish games and hold down the role for the long haul. That is, All-Star left-hander Brad Hand.
Realistically, I’m not sure the Twins make a move for the 27-year-old Chaska native, BUT it’s not out of the question that Minnesota makes a deal for a top-notch closer. They’ve already been rumored to have interest in Cincinnati Reds closer Raisel Iglesias according to Jon Morosi. Additionally, Darren Wolfson put out that Minnesota has also inquired about Tampa Bay Rays closer Alex Colome as well as Brad Hand.
The catch is that any of those options are going to cost a lot and the Twins farm system isn’t exactly loaded with high-end talent at this moment. Minnesota’s most intriguing prospects outside of 2017 first overall pick Royce Lewis are shortstop Nick Gordan and starting pitchers Fernando Romero and Stephen Gonsalves. While they could look to package one of those prospects with a couple others mid-level prospects, the Twins also need starting pitching and the trade avenue may be more appropriate for starting pitching.
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In looking at the 2018 starting rotation, Pittsburgh Pirates starter Gerrit Cole came in as the no. 2 starter. In that case, the Twins probably package one of their top prospects with a couple mid-level prospects in order to get the ace-caliber arm. As a result, it’s hard to see the Twins go big for Cole and Hand given the lack of minor league assets. Even so, they could look at trading away Eddie Rosario or Max Kepler to help make two big deals happen in order to fill the two biggest needs on the team. Although, I’d consider that suggestion a long shot.
Regardless, the Twins eventually have to acquire an elite closer and Hand would give Minnesota just that. With the Padres, he transitioned to a relief role and has been brilliant in two seasons with the team. Specifically, he boasts a 7-8 record and 2.56 ERA, along with 37 holds and 22 saves during that time. Most importantly, he’s under team control through 2019, so he won’t come at as pricey as the top closers on the free agent market. Of course, that drives up the price in a trade, but he’d be well worth it for the Twins. They also could sign someone like Brandon Kintzler to a reasonable two- or three-year deal given their funds won’t be all tied up to their closer.
If the Twins can make a move for Hand, there’s no doubt that’d change the entire state of the Minnesota bullpen. In fact, if they acquire any of the closers they are interested in, they’d come a long way from last season. Here’s to hoping that chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine can make something happen!