The Minnesota Twins have watched the New York Yankees trade for Giancarlo Stanton and re-sign CC Sabathia. Now, they have to act before they make their next move.
The New York Yankees are in the midst of a very busy offseason. It all started with the signing of new manager Aaron Boone, but since then, has resulted in a trade for All-Star slugger Giancarlo Stanton and the re-signing of starting pitcher CC Sabathia. Based on those moves alone, they’ve had a successful offseason, something that doesn’t bode well for the Minnesota Twins.
Basically, the Yankees are a much better team than they were last season when they defeated the Twins in the AL Wild Card Game. Given their young core of players and outstanding bullpen, they look to be another dangerous New York dynasty in the making. This is quite a scary thought for Twins fans.
While I’ll never be able to explain why, the Yankees just have the Twins number in the playoffs. So, the better they get, the more concerned Minnesota should be about possible playoff matchups down the road. That being said, New York could still use a top-of-the-rotation starter to along with Luis Severino and Sabathia. And, apparently, their top target to fill that need is a rumored Twins trade target… Gerrit Cole.
Of course, the Twins have to seriously consider Cole for the fact he’d drastically improve their starting rotation and help them emerge into a consistent contender in the AL. But, the consolation prize to trading for Cole is that they prevent their rival in the east from adding another elite player to their ball club.
At the moment, all indications point to New York acquiring the Pirates prized possession though. So, it’s time for Minnesota to force itself into the conversation. Over the MLB Winter Meetings, rumors spread that the Pirates would be interested in a Twins package of Nick Gordon, Tyler Jay, and Zach Granite in exchange for Cole. In other words, it’s clear Pittsburgh is willing to deal with Minnesota and they have the assets to make a deal.
Sure, there may be some concerns. In particular, the 27-year-old Cole has struggled the last two seasons. In 2016, he missed half the season due to injury, while he had a career-worst season in 2017. Specifically, he went 12-12 with a 4.26 ERA, which isn’t great by Cole’s standards. On the other hand, the high velocity on his pitches is still there. Not to mention, he seemed to get stronger as the 2017 season went on, finishing with over 200 innings pitched for the second time in three seasons. For his career, Cole is 59-42 with a 3.50 ERA and 734 strikeouts in 782.1 innings.
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While free agent starter Yu Darvish seems to be the priority for Minnesota, the Twins realistically could pursue both. Cole is still under two more years of team control, so he wouldn’t exactly break the bank, even if the Twins signed Darvish. Additionally, adding both arms to a rotation with Ervin Santana and José Berríos would arguably make the Twins World Series contenders right away.
Yet, the Twins have to act fast before the Yankees convince the Pirates to hand Cole to them. In reality, they boast the prospects to get a deal done, so it’s only a matter of time if Minnesota doesn’t step in. Yes, there are other options out there for the Twins, but there are not any 27-year-old starters with the track record and potential of Cole. To add, if he ends up a Yankee, they are going to be a tough out come playoff time, especially for Minnesota.
Essentially, the time is now for the Twins to make a big deal for their future ace of the rotation. At the same time, they keep the Yankees from adding arguably the top available starter on the market right now. That’s a win-win if you ask me.